FDA Announces Plans to Ease Baby Formula Shortage

baby formula

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is trying to make it easier to import certain baby formulas in order to address an ongoing nationwide shortage, NPR reports.

The baby formula shortage is a crisis in the U.S. Across the country, almost half of the baby formula options have been out of stock. This is a massive problem considering about three out of four babies in the country rely on formula at some point in their first six months of life. For many people too, breastfeeding is not possible, which is the only other option. 

Typically, the U.S. produces 98 percent of the infant formula that it uses. Imported formulas mostly came from Mexico, Ireland, and the Netherlands. But because of the huge shortage, the FDA is outlining a new process that says it does not object to importing certain formula products. 

Now, the government is relaxing restrictions to let more products come in. 

Another plan is also at play to help ease the shortage, CNN reports. Abbott Nutrition, one of the largest formula manufacturers in the country, reached an agreement with the government to reopen a closed factory in order to increase production. 

Abbott shut down a facility in Sturgis, Michigan, a couple of months ago after several babies became sick after drinking formula and two died of infections. 

The Department of Justice filed a complaint against Abbott and said that the factory failed to comply with quality and safety regulations. 

But now Abbott and the government are striking a new agreement to a proposed settlement to resolve the complaint. It requires a third-party expert at the Michigan facility to help restart the production of formula, and increase the supply safely. 

Abbott said in a statement that as long as there is FDA approval, the facility could restart within two weeks. It will take, however, another six to eight weeks before formula from the plant would become available to grocery stores. 

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