New proposed bill aims to tackle baby formula shortage

WASHINGTON – New legislation proposed on Monday aims to boost the production of baby formula.

The “Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act” was introduced by Washington’s Rep. Suzan DelBene, along with lawmakers from Oregon, Nebraska, Connecticut, Michigan and Georgia.

According to a press release from DelBene’s office, 67% of store shelves are out of stock of formula in Washington. Metro areas are hit harder, with Seattle’s average out-of-stock rate at 79%. The proposed bill aims to increase the amount of formula state-wide by targeting tariffs. Specifically, the act would temporarily lift tariffs on safe imported base powder used to mix with nutrients and other ingredients to make the formula.

“In July, President Biden signed legislation that I introduced to make it cheaper to buy imported baby formula. While we’ve seen more formula on shelves since then, too many families are struggling to find and afford the food their children need,” said DelBene. “The legislation I’m introducing today will build on that progress by helping increase domestic formula production.”

The proposed bill comes as the Federal Drug and Food Administration admitted last week in a new report that their response time to the U.S. infant formula shortage was slowed. In the same report, the FDA outlined what contributed to the current crisis at hand. The organization says outdated data-sharing systems, inadequate staffing and training, and poor visibility into formula supply chains led to the shortage.

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