Heinrich, Luján Act Urgently to Address Baby Formula Shortage
WASHINGTON – Congress just passed the Access to Baby Formula Act to make sure families who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) have the baby formula they need. U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) are cosponsors of the bipartisan legislation, which swiftly cleared the House and Senate and will now go to President Biden for signature.
“It’s been many years now since my boys were infants, but I remember what it’s like to worry about making sure they are healthy and fed. I know the nationwide formula shortage is having an intense impact on New Mexico’s families right now. Solving these shortages is imperative,” said Heinrich. “This legislation will provide much-needed relief and flexibility for families who rely on the WIC program for baby formula and hold manufacturers accountable.”
“I was proud to support this urgent legislation, which will get formula into the hands of families now and prevent future delays,” said Luján. “This is an important step in addressing the ongoing formula supply issues, which will create flexibility for consumers and ensure manufacturers respond swiftly to shortages. It is critical that we provide the safe, healthy baby formula that New Mexican families who rely on the WIC program need.”
The WIC program provides information on healthy eating and helps millions of families buy nutritious foods including baby formula. This legislation gives the USDA the authority they need to be more flexible during a crisis such as a natural disaster, public health emergency, or recall and shortage currently facing our country. This flexibility would ensure that the brand or type of formula families can buy isn’t restricted by program rules, allowing families to purchase whatever is available in the store. In addition, the legislation would require that formula manufacturers that provide formula for WIC babies have a plan in place to respond to a shortage so that families will be able to purchase the formula they need.
The Access to Baby Formula Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and John Boozman (R-AR), Ranking Member, and is supported by more than 250 national, regional, and local child nutrition advocates.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a new webpage to provide parents with resources to help find places where they can obtain formula, including retail businesses, food banks, accredited human milk banks, and health care providers.