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US Senate HELP Committee to Discuss Formula Shortages

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US Senate HELP Committee to Discuss Formula Shortages

US Senate HELP Committee to Discuss Formula Shortages
US Senate HELP Committee to Discuss Formula Shortages
US Senate HELP Committee to Discuss Formula Shortages | Photo: Food Safety News

The US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will convene today to discuss the infant formula shortage.

The hearing comes as President Biden initiated two policies this week to improve supply chains—including invoking the Defense Production Act to increase domestic production and the launch of Operation Fly Formula to bypass supply chain congestion. Furthermore, Congress passed two emergency spending bills—H.R 7790 and H.R. 7791—to expand families’ access to more formula through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.

The formula crisis has surfaced amid a perfect storm of domestic supply shocks induced by pandemic-related supply chain delays, oligopoly control of the market and the closure of the largest formula manufacturing plant in the country.  In March, around 43% of U.S baby formula was out of stock.

Expect the Senate Committee hearing to gather information in anticipation for legislation to be produced in the short-term. The committee will likely hear from experts concerned with the impact domestic supply blocks will have on low-income families. The committee will likely recommend an overhaul of the market to allow greater competition and more relaxed FDA standards that are more in line with the European Commission to prevent supply bottlenecks in the long-term.

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