Jul 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

FDA looks to keep foreign baby formula producers in the U.S.

Shelves of baby formula in New York.

Shelves of baby formula in New York. Photo: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday it will look to help foreign producers of baby formula secure long-term authorization for the U.S.

Why it matters: This includes helping the producers meet minimum requirements to stay in the market. Doing so will give American shoppers more choices for baby formula, which will help avoid future shortages.

Details: The FDA said Wednesday it will host meetings in the summer with companies that import formulas to determine the next steps.

  • The agency will also establish a contact person for the producers to help them through the regulatory process.
  • The FDA said it hopes to keep foreign providers in the country past November.

What they're saying: "The need to diversify and strengthen the U.S. infant formula supply is more important than ever," said FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf, and Susan Mayne, the director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in a statement.

  • "The recent shutdown of a major infant formula plant, compounded by unforeseen natural weather events, has shown just how vulnerable the supply chain has become," they said.

The big picture: Foreign producers of baby formula have had temporary authorization in the U.S. to deal with the country's shortage, AP reports.

  • In May, the FDA previously eased federal regulations to allow the formula to be shipped to the U.S., AP reports.
  • Biden helped provide federal support for overseas formulas through the Defense Production Act.

By the numbers: The White House said that by this weekend, about 43 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of infant formula have been imported into the U.S.

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