House Committee holds hearing on infant formula shortage, FDA & Abbott among those who will testify

Baby Formula Shortage
Posted at 7:23 AM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 08:04:59-04

TAMPA, Fla. — On Wednesday the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing on the infant formula supply shortage.

The chairman of the committee said the hearing is an all-hands-on-deck response to ensure babies have the formula they need for health and nutrition.

“In our country, it should be the number one priority to feed our babies whether you can produce milk or you have to give formula. It’s hard enough to give your baby formula, but then to have to worry about where you’re going to get it from is even harder,” said Kristi Shearer, a Tampa Bay area mother whose son needs formula.

The CEO of Abbott Nutrition, the nation’s largest baby formula producer, just issued a public apology days ago.

This comes after a voluntary shut down in February of an Abbott factory in Michigan. Four babies got sick from bacterial disease after consuming formula produced at the facility; two of those babies died.

Officials said it’s still unclear if that bacteria came from the infant formula, but an FDA inspection showed the facility fell short of adequate sanitation.

“We shouldn’t ever have to be thinking about will I be able to give nourishment to my infant. That is sad and completely, with proper foresight, can be avoided,” said Dr. David Berger, Board Certified Pediatrician at Wholistic Pediatrics & Family Care.

Health experts have been weighing in on ways to prevent this shortage in the future.

“Having them in smaller facilities where there’s more variety, that can also crank it up if necessary so we don’t get into this where there’s one particular facility goes down and there goes the nation,” said Berger.

At the hearing, senior officials from the FDA are expected to testify as well as executives from three major infant formula companies: Abbott Nutrition, Gerber Products Company, and Reckitt.

Leaders said they want to work together to ensure this never happens again.

The hearing begins at 11 a.m.