Congress is investigating the baby formula shortage and demanding answers from the 4 companies who control almost 90% of the market

Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat from New York, and chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Lawmakers are opening an investigation into shortages of baby formula across the US.
Four companies manufacture almost 90% of the formula on the American market.
The move follows similar action by the White House to address the growing crisis.

As parents in the US searching for baby formula are increasingly met with empty shelves, lawmakers are opening an investigation into the shortages.

“The national formula shortage poses a threat to the health and economic security of infants and families in communities throughout the country — particularly those with less income who have historically experienced health inequities, including food insecurity,” Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Raja Krishnamoorthi wrote in letters to the four leading infant formula manufacturers.

 “It is critical that your company take all possible steps to increase the supply of formula and prevent price gouging,” they added in the letters sent to the makers of Similac, Enfamil, Gerber, and the leading generic label producer.

Together, these companies oversee almost 90% of the American market for formula manufacturing.

The representatives are seeking information about what led to the current supply problems, as well as what these companies are doing to get formula to those who need it. 

Their requests come close on the heels of new regulatory steps President Joe Biden announced Thursday following a meeting with leading manufacturers and retailers.

Much of the current disruption is traced back to a February product recall and plant shutdown after several children were sickened with contamination that appeared to originate from an Abbott Nutrition facility in Michigan.

The company said Wednesday it is ready to restart production within two weeks once the Food and Drug Administration approves. After that, it could be up to eight more weeks for shelves to be fully restocked.

The White House also said that it is pushing agencies to increase imports of baby formula from abroad, which currently represent about 2% of the formula consumed in the US. In addition, Canada is specifically discouraged from exporting infant formula in large volumes to the US under the North American trade agreement championed by President Donald Trump.

Last week, the shortages ticked up to a new high, according to Datasembly, a grocery and retail price-tracking firm. 

And at the end of the month, six states had out-of-stock rates of more than 50%: Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Tennessee. 

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Economy, Politics, Baby formula, Infant Formula, food shortage, Supply Chain, Gerber, Nestle

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