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U.S. lawmakers unveil FDA emergency funds bill to address baby formula shortage

Politics May 17, 2022 05:32PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. Empty shelves show a shortage of baby formula at a Target store in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. May 10, 2022. REUTERS/Kaylee Greenlee Beal 2/2

By Chris Gallagher

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. 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.

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.

"We are making sure that a lack of funding is not a barrier to getting safe formula to parents and to babies," Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, who introduced the legislation, told a news conference.

DeLauro said the FDA currently did not have an adequate inspection force to approve more baby formula companies whether domestically or internationally in a timely way.

"I was told that they have only nine people to do this," she said.

The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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 U.S. maker Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) 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 U.S. stores in a few weeks, the FDA said on Monday.

DeLauro called the FDA's move a step forward but voiced concern it would not do enough to ensure the safety of the formula imports.

"I am disappointed that we will look at both foreign and domestic facilities that are not FDA-approved. I believe we ought to be doing business with FDA-approved facilities," she said.

IMPROVING ACCESS

Also on Tuesday, Democratic Representative Jahana Hayes introduced a bill to improve access to infant formula for vulnerable families who use the nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC Program aimed at low-income families.

"We are in the midst of a national emergency, where families are panicking as they work to prevent their babies from going hungry," Hayes said in a statement, adding her bill would help improve access and ensure protection from future product recalls.

Meanwhile, Republicans on Monday introduced a separate 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.

U.S. lawmakers unveil FDA emergency funds bill to address baby formula shortage
 

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Comments (13)
Kriss Knife
Kriss Knife May 17, 2022 9:24PM ET
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Headlin:  "Baby dies while baby momma and baby daddy eat pizza and tacos watching Real Hip-Hop in Carbon Hill."
Kriss Knife
Kriss Knife May 17, 2022 8:50PM ET
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Finally, culling the low-life is based on Federal funding.
Kriss Knife
Kriss Knife May 17, 2022 8:48PM ET
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If you can't nurse them, don't have them.
Kriss Knife
Kriss Knife May 17, 2022 8:47PM ET
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You have to admit, the best you can glean from all this is that, after 100 million years of evolution, humans can no longer reproduce without Carnot engines.  There may be hope for the universe after all.
Kriss Knife
Kriss Knife May 17, 2022 8:14PM ET
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Wait, first we'll need a lot of meth to keep Kintuky semi-conscious, thin we-il need us sum fud fur the mommas so theze kin make milk fur them baybies.  Whut wud we duz withowt them Kintuky baybiies?
Kriss Knife
Kriss Knife May 17, 2022 8:10PM ET
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Breasts.
Kriss Knife
Kriss Knife May 17, 2022 8:07PM ET
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How did babies survive before the Fed supported the factories grinding, mixing and bottling fruit and milk?
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins May 17, 2022 2:15PM ET
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Triggered snowflakes....respond here! Melt little snowflakes, melt.
By designe
Series3bydesign May 17, 2022 2:15PM ET
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Trump is not president and lost the election. ***Screeeeeeching commences***
By designe
Series3bydesign May 17, 2022 2:15PM ET
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DT is not president and lost. *Screeching commences*
John Hat
John Hat May 17, 2022 1:53PM ET
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They created the crisis, and now they get to ride to the rescue.
Edward Smyth
Edward Smyth May 17, 2022 12:36PM ET
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what's the *******for?
 
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