WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEWS10) – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced the introduction of her Emergency Infant Formula Act. The legislation would take crucial steps to increase domestic production and expand the sourcing of formula to relieve the current crisis and prevent future shortages.
The bill was created to provide for the expedited and duty-free importation of infant formula that may be lawfully marketed in the European Union, Canada, Japan, or the United Kingdom and for other purposes. This bill is led in the House of Representatives by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA).
Abbot Nutrition, the nation’s largest infant formula manufacturer, suffered a massive recall after several infants suffered bacterial infections. Reports suggest that nearly 40% of formula nationwide is out of stock.
This recall has created life or death situations for many of the millions of families that depend on baby formula to feed their infants. Immediate action to increase the speed of production and distribution of formula is necessary to ensure that babies who rely on formula do not starve.
Specifically, the Emergency Infant Formula Act would:
- Give the president the authority, during periods of shortage, to specify that certain baby formulas may be imported and sold in the U.S. This applies only to formula legally sold in the E.U., Canada, the U.K., and Japan. The president would also have the authority to limit the authorization to particular brands, manufacturers, or particular manufacturing facilities, and to modify or suspend labeling requirements.
- Authorize the president to suspend tariffs on baby formula and baby formula ingredients, and instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to give these products priority processing.
- Clarify that the Defense Production Act applies to infant formula.
Earlier this week, Senator Gillibrand called on President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to urgently address the current baby formula shortage and received a swift response. The White House has announced it will move forward with this critical action.