A nationwide baby formula shortage has millions of parents, including Turlock Congressional representative Josh Harder, worried about getting their infants needed nutrition.
Some experts say the baby formula shortage started as early as two years ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic led to disruptions in labor, transportation and raw materials.
The shortage only got worse after a nationwide recall where several babies got sick and two died. On Feb. 17, the FDA pulled the formula off store shelves and shut down the Abbott Nutrition factory in Sturgis, Michigan, leading to even more shortages.
Now, major retailers like Target and CVS are limiting how much formula parents can purchase in one trip. Because of this formula shortage, President Joe Biden’s administration has gotten involved to help make sure infant formula is both safe and available for families across the country.
The White House announced plans to cut red tape to get more formula to store shelves quicker, increase the supply by allowing new and increased imports and called on the FTC and State Attorney Generals to crack down on any price gouging or unfair market practices related to sales of baby formula.
Representative Harder and his wife, Pam, recently welcomed their baby daughter Lily into the world. Last week, like so many families in the Valley, they joined a waitlist after failing to find baby formula available for purchase.
“As a parent of a newborn daughter, I can’t believe it’s gotten to this point. No parent in America should have to join a waitlist in order to keep their baby fed,” said Harder. “I’m working alongside the White House to treat this as the national emergency it is. We can’t rest until every parent has what they need. It’s time to import more formula, cut the red tape and hold the people who allowed this crisis to happen accountable.”
Congress is looking to do two things to address the shortage next week: The Appropriations Committee, which Harder sits on, is going to be holding hearings and bringing in the major formula companies to testify how this happened and how they can make sure it never happens again, and the Appropriations Committee is also working on an emergency bill to immediately address the shortage.