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US Democrats unveil bill to address baby formula shortage

18 May 2022

The bill is to provide $28 million in emergency funds to the FDA

US House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a bill to provide $28 million in emergency funds to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help it respond to a nationwide shortage of infant formula and strengthen supervision of the industry, reported Reuters

The funds would provide the FDA with the resources to prevent fraudulent products from being placed on shelves, a House Appropriations Committee statement said.

They would also be used to strengthen the FDA's workforce focused on formula issues and increase inspection staff, it added.

"This bill takes important steps to restore supply in a safe and secure manner," Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, who introduced the legislation, said in the statement.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the chamber would consider the emergency funding bill this week.

The United States has been grappling with a widespread infant formula shortage since top US maker Abbott Laboratories issued a recall in February after reports of bacterial infections.

To increase supply, the United States will allow baby formula imports from foreign makers that do not usually sell their products here, a temporary move that could put more formula in US stores in a few weeks, the FDA said on Monday.

DeLauro, however, voiced concern the FDA's move would not do enough to ensure the safety of the formula imports.

"Instead of purchasing formula from FDA-regulated facilities, the administration is opening the door to any company that self-identifies its formula as 'safe'," she said in a separate statement.

Meanwhile, Republicans on Monday introduced legislation that would require President Joe Biden's administration to invoke the Defense Production Act to quickly increase the domestic supply of infant formula.

It would also require the FDA to establish a waiver process to approve the sale of formulas that are already approved for sale in the European Union and to publish safety guidelines for these products, according to a statement from Representative Vern Buchanan, who introduced the bill with Senator Marco Rubio.

Source: Reuters



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