May 17, 2022

Reps. Castro and Larson Lead 149 House Democrats Urging Action and Accountability to Address Infant Formula Shortage

WASHINGTON – Today Reps. Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and John B. Larson (CT-01) led 149 of their colleagues in a letter urging the Biden administration to use a whole-of-government response to increase the availability of infant and specialty formula while investigating the failures that led to current shortages.

For several weeks, the White House has worked with formula manufacturers and foreign suppliers to accelerate formula importation and production. The letter urges the administration to continue these efforts and include formula products in broader efforts to strengthen U.S. supply chains and manufacturing. The U.S. House of Representatives is also expected to vote this week on supplemental funding to help restore the U.S. formula supply.

“This formula shortage is causing our nation a great deal of distress, leaving parents concerned they will not be able to feed their children,” said Rep. Larson. “The Biden Administration is engaged in round-the-clock efforts to get products back on shelves and that response must continue. Moving forward, we need to ensure these products are treated as vital parts of our supply chain and should be included in resiliency plans. Additionally, the Administration must investigate any agency failures that caused the Abbott plant shutdown. We cannot let our nation’s families ration formula or go hungry.” 

“Two weeks ago, my wife and I welcomed our third child into the world. Like millions of families in Texas and across the country, we know how nerve-wracking this formula shortage is — and how urgently it must be fixed,” said Rep. Castro. “As Congress works to speed up formula imports and get more cans on shelves, I’m proud to send this important letter with Rep. Larson and nearly 150 House colleagues. Together, Congress and the Biden administration must investigate the causes of this shortage and hold manufacturers accountable so that families are never hurt like this again.” 

The full letter and a list of co-signers can be found here. The text of the letter is reproduced below.

Dear Mr. President,

We write to thank your Administration for actions already undertaken to alleviate shortages of infant and specialty formula products and urge you to continue a whole of government response towards getting products back on the shelf.

Constituents in our districts have been unable to find the formula needed for their children. The federal government must do everything in its power to alleviate product shortages and ensure distribution is equitable and does not trigger scarcity pricing surges. We cannot let product shortages come between the decisions made by parents and pediatricians on how to best feed their children.

We are heartened by the actions already taken to address these shortages, including working with manufacturers to increase output, expediting approval on minor manufacturing and import requirements, facilitating more targeted retail distributions, and allowing disbursement of Abbott Nutrition products when medically necessary. We urge your Administration to continue “around the clock” efforts to resolve shortages.

Further, as your Administration works to address supply chain vulnerabilities brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you to consider how vital these products are to American families and include them in your Administration’s priority efforts to address supply chain resiliency. Additionally, we ask for a review of any long-standing agency issues that may have led to warning signs being missed prior to these recalls being necessary at a time of global supply chain instability.

We stand ready to work with you to provide whatever resources are needed to get formula back on the shelves and readily available.