RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A massive recall, the supply chain and international trade rules are all to blame for a nationwide shortage of baby formula.
With overwhelming bipartisan support, the U.S. House voted in favor of allowing economically challenged mothers to use their WIC card to buy whatever formula they find available on the shelves.
“It’s so, so important that we give families the security of knowing that they will have food for their children. What we’re doing is, as long as it’s safe, providing more access to more types of baby formula because we’re seeing that low-income women, if they can’t get the kind that’s allowed with WIC, then have to pay out of their pocket for another kind of baby formula” said Congresswoman Deborah Ross, a cosponsor of the Access to Baby Formula Act.
Ross, who represents much of Wake County, also voted in favor of legislation that gives funding to the FDA to fix the problem. H.R. 7790 addresses the shortage, increases the number of FDA inspection staff and helps the agency stop fraudulent baby formula from entering the marketplace.
The supplemental bill also passed, but along party lines. Republicans say it doesn’t do what it should do.
Cumberland County Congressman Richard Hudson is co-sponsoring a separate bill called the Babies Need Formula Now Act.
Hudson said the proposed legislation increases oversight and transparency of the FDA, reduces barriers to allow more competition in the baby formula market, enhances accountability for recalls and allows greater importation of infant formula from countries with similar standards to those in the U.S.
Hudson is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee which will hold a subcommittee hearing on the issues next week.
Ross emphasized the need for the Senate to move quickly on the measures that the house already passed.
“Congress is making sure that we get safe baby formula out as quickly as we possibly can and I will add that the Attorney General is cracking down on people trying to exploit the situation,” she said.