By The Leader Staff
Rep. David Valadao
Rep. David Valadao

Valley Congressman David Valadao on Thursday brought up the baby formula shortage when he questioned U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert M. Califf during the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Fiscal Year 2023 budget hearing.

Valadao serves on the subcommittee and used his time to press the FDA Commissioner on the steps his agency is taking to resolve the ongoing baby formula shortage and ensure this never happens again.

“Between the infant formula recall and subsequent plant shutdown, ongoing supply chain disruptions, and people panic-buying out of fear they won’t be able to feed their babies, this has become a dangerous and unacceptable situation,” said Valadao.

“Low-income and disadvantaged communities, like many in my district, are suffering the consequences of the recall. These families have been suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing supply chain issues, inflation, etc. They need a break.”

Watch the full hearing here.

On Wednesday, Valadao voted in support of the Access to Baby Formula Act, legislation to help expand access to infant formula for federal WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program recipients. Half of the baby formula purchased is purchased by WIC recipients, which significantly impacts low-income communities.

According to Valadao, more than 40 percent of baby formula is out of stock in the United States. On February 17, 2022, Abbott Laboratories initiated a voluntary recall of powder formulas manufactured in their Sturgis, MI facility.

The U.S. infant formula market is dominated by four major companies, the biggest market share held by Abbott. The Abbott recall exacerbated supply-chain challenges affecting critical ingredients needed to manufacture infant formula, such as milk powder, packaging materials, including tin and plastic, and workforce labor shortages.