LOCAL NEWS

Utah congressmen introduce FORMULA Act to combat shortage

May 17, 2022, 1:44 PM
Baby formula is offered for sale at a big box store on January 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Baby ...
Baby formula is offered for sale at a big box store on January 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Baby formula has been is short supply in many stores around the country for several months. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Rep. Chris Stewart and Sen. Mike Lee have introduced a bill to help parents who continue to hunt for baby formula.

The FORMULA (Fixing Our Regulatory Mayhem Upsetting Little Americans ) Act would overcome formula shortages and support the supply shortcomings in the chain.

Lee said the out-of-stock rate for baby formula supply chains has tripled over the last six months.

“New mothers are hunting from store to store to feed their infants,” said Rep. Stewart. “This is heartbreaking to see, and it should never happen in America. Red tape led to the culmination of this crisis, and removing it is our best way out… To my congressional colleagues on both sides of the aisle: America’s mothers and fathers need help, and there is no time to waste. Congress needs to pass this bill immediately.”

WHAT WOULD THE BILL DO?

  • Implement a 6-Month Waiver on Infant Formula Tariffs
  • Eliminate tariffs on infant formulas from certain countries
  • Waive existing FDA Labeling and Nutrition requirements for infant formula with respect to commercial imports from certain countries with similar approval standards as the United States.
  • Waive statutes requiring commercial infant formula to derive only from FDA-approved facilities. • Would prohibit the FDA from recalling infant formula solely for reasons pertaining to labeling.
  • Grant the FDA the authority to recall imported infant formula if it is unsafe for consumption.
  • Allow WIC recipients to purchase alternative brand formulas that have been imported for 6-months

Lee said, “Congress needs to pass this bill immediately to protect American babies from going hungry.”

HOW PARENTS ARE DEALING WITH THE CRISIS

The empty store shelves have many families looking for safe alternatives to formula.

The University of Utah Health held a Q&A Tuesday with experts that included a pediatrician and lactation manager.

University of Utah Health’s Dr. Hobson-Rohrer said it is not a good idea for families to make their own baby formulas or dilute formulas to make them last longer.

Hobson-Rohrer said formulas already are packed with the correct amount of nutrients for little ones, and diluting them can change the amount of nutrients a baby is getting.

Utah families feeling the pinch of baby formula shortage

Parents have been stressing as they have switched from the formula brands that their children normally eat to whatever they can find on shelves.

“I have a 9-month-old son, and I am currently having the worst time finding formula for him,” said Silvie Hull of Murray. “He uses a certain kind and it’s been a hard time for all of us.”

Hull said switching formulas on her son has resulted in sleepless nights and a fussy baby because the new formula is upsetting his stomach, impacting everyone in her household.

“It’s been such a stressful time,” she said. “I never thought it would come down to something like this, where parents have to really struggle with options for their babies to eat.”

According to recent data from Datasembly, a retail tracking group, 31% of baby formula is out of stock across the country and up to 40% in some states.

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Utah congressmen introduce FORMULA Act to combat shortage