A subcommittee from the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee will begin a hearing about infant formula shortages. These are due to recalls of products that were linked to an outbreak cronobacter infections.
According to an announcement by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), the Hearings Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigations is set to open on May 25,.
” The nationwide shortage of infant formula is becoming more alarming and requires Congress’ immediate attention,” Pallone stated.
” Ensuring safety and well-being for our nation’s children is one of our greatest collective responsibilities. This includes safe and nutritious formula. I applaud the recent actions of the Food and Drug Administration and Biden Administration to increase infant formula supply and am ready to work with them until the problem is solved.
” This hearing will focus on understanding the reasons for the shortage, how production and supply have been increased, and what further work is needed to ensure safe formula in the country .”
Although supply chain issues related the COVID pandemic were cited by Abbott Nutrition, an infant formula manufacturer, and the FDA — both of which are at the center of the story — the primary cause of the shortages was the closing of one of Abbott’s plants and the recall of many infant formula products. Four babies were hospitalized and two of them died from cronobacter infection after the Abbott plant was closed in Sturgis, MI.
It is unknown how much, if any, the hearing by the subcommittee on the infant formula shortage will be focused on the FDA investigation into this outbreak and the conditions at Abbott’s manufacturing plant.
The subcommittee is yet to release a list with witnesses who are expected to testify.
“Additional information will be announced the following week,” according to the announcement by the committee.
Since shortly after the Abbott recall on Feb. 17, parents across the country have been complaining that they are having to spend hours looking for infant formula and driving long distances to buy it. The parents’ complaints are still being reported by mainstream media outlets on a daily basis. The recall covers products that were sold under the brand names Similac and Alimentum, as well as EleCare.
The Food and Drug Administration gave details earlier this week about what they are doing to address the shortage. Officials at Agency claim that there is no shortage as April’s infant formula sales exceeded March’s.
Abbott has reached an agreement with the FDA for the case-by-case release some speciality formulas in order to ease the situation of parents of infants with certain health issues.
Since January, the FDA has been looking into Abbott and its manufacturing facility. The agency began receiving reports of illnesses and the deaths of two babies in Septemb