On Tuesday, May 17, 2022 NGA hosted a briefing for Governors’ offices with the White House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to discuss the infant formula shortage, the steps taken by the Biden-Harris Administration to improve the supply and discuss options for states/territories.
The current infant formula shortage has occurred because of the Abbott facility in Sturgis, Michigan was closed due to safety concerns. The White House mentioned that there was an agreement by the FDA and Abbott on next steps to reopen the plant, which is a critical step in resolving the shortage. The agreement outlined a set of safety procedures that the FDA is requiring to ensure that the product manufactured at the Sturgis plant is safe for families. The FDA also announced new guidance that will allow major formula manufacturers to import formula that is currently not produced for the U.S. market. In addition, the White House has been looking at ways to improve the speed as to which the formula is being moved from factories to store shelves.
FDA has been working with states to cut red-tape and provide Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) flexibility. Reckitt and Gerber have increased their production, that more is now being produced compared to February. However, at the same time, what allowed them to produce so quickly is to simplify the product and families will see a different kind of product on the market. It is important to counsel families as they are considering other products in the market. FDA also mentioned that there are regional differences as to availability of products.
Update briefings on the above topics were given weekly through June 17, 2022.