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What to Know: Next Steps to Address the Infant Formula Shortage

July 25, 2022

The infant formula shortage remains a public health challenge across the U.S.

In an effort to support the national supply, Congress last week approved legislation suspending tariffs on imported formula through 2022. The legislation comes as the out-of-stock rate for formula has been improving but remains above 20 percent, according to the Information Resources Inc.

During testimony before a Senate subcommittee last week, Dr. Robert Califf, FDA commissioner, said the agency was focused on the ongoing infant formula situation and next steps to bolster food and nutrition safety.

Dr. Califf said there are encouraging signs that supply and production are catching up with the demand.

“Like a plane taking off, I’d expect to see a gradual improvement (of formula) on the shelves,” he said.

Here are four things to know about the formula shortage:

  • Resources available:  The FDA has compiled a set of resources to support caregivers and providers, including information about where to find products and imported formula from other countries.
  • Back in production:  Earlier this month, Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan facility reopened. The facility is one of the main formula suppliers and had been closed following a recall of certain powdered infant formula products.
  • Need for a new framework:  This month, the FDA said it was focused on creating a new framework to ensure access to formula and to strengthen the national and international supply chain.
  • Quotable:  “Failures of the supply chain throughout the pandemic, and particularly the recent crisis, have shown the importance of new additional authorities to anticipate and respond to supply shortages, particularly for infant formula and medical foods,” Dr. Califf said.

The FDA has warned against making homemade infant formulas and recommends caregivers work with their child’s health care providers for recommendations on feeding practices.

HAP continues to monitor the infant formula shortage and will provide updates to members and the general public. More information is available online.