House Speaker Nancy Pelosi describes legislation introduced Tuesday, to address the baby formula shortage at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
May 17 (UPI) -- House Democrats introduced legislation Tuesday to help address the country's ongoing shortage of baby formula.
Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro introduced the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, which would give the Food and Drug Administration an additional $28 million, dedicated to helping inspect baby formula before it hits store shelves.
Money would also go towards preparing for potential future shortages.
"While I welcome action from the FDA to address the infant formula shortage, I continue to echo my concerns about safety," DeLauro said in a statement.
"As I have said before, we cannot make a false choice between safety and supply. I am disappointed that these actions do not do enough to ensure the formula FDA imports is safe for consumers. Instead of purchasing formula from FDA-regulated facilities, the administration is opening the door to any company that self-identifies its formula as 'safe'. That is unacceptable. Several babies have been hospitalized and at least two have died. We cannot put another child at risk."
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform launched an investigation Friday into the ongoing nationwide shortage.
Four major corporations, Abbott Nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Nestle USA and Perrigo Co. control about 90% of the U.S. market for baby formula.
Abbott announced a recall Feb. 17 of several lines of powdered formula manufactured at its plant in Sturgis, Mich. The shortage ensued shortly thereafter, devastating an industry that already was under pressure from supply chain issues and labor shortages.
The recalled formulas included were linked to bacterial infections that led to two deaths.
The formula shortage continues to send desperate parents scouring shelves to find nutrition for their infants.
Millions of babies rely on formula -- the only source of nutrition recommended for infants who aren't exclusively breastfed.
Abbott Laboratories said Monday it reached an agreement with regulators to reopen the shuttered production plant.
The company and the FDA said the deal will speed the resumption of infant formula production at the Michigan plant.