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Friday, June 24, 2022

US safety, savings rules set the stage for lack of baby formula

WASHINGTON — A massive recall is most likely to be blamed for a shortage of American baby formula, but experts say the product has long been vulnerable to this type of crisis due to decades-old policies that have forced a handful companies are allowed to enter the market.

Those government regulations – aimed at assuring safe, affordable formula – are under renewed scrutiny as President Joe Biden’s administration races to import formula from Europe.

“There is absolutely good and safe infant formula available around the world. We don’t have access to it,” said Bindiya Vakil, CEO of supply chain analytics firm Resilin. “We created this problem by not setting up the infrastructure for imports. is.”

Federal regulators are expected to soon allow Abbott Nutrition to reopen a Michigan plant that has been closed since February due to contamination problems. The factory is the largest of its kind in the US and its shutdown – combined with supply chain problems related to the pandemic – supplies popular formulas and specialty formulas to children with rare medical conditions.

Lawmakers will hold three hearings on the issue this week, calling on company executives, government regulators and outside experts to testify. Attention could drive changes to government security and contract regulations in force since the 1980s and favor larger US manufacturers who are better able to navigate complex requirements.

Baby formula is one of the few American products that is essentially unaffected by globalization, with 98% of the supply being manufactured domestically. According to industry statistics, four companies account for nearly 90% of the market: Abbott, Reckitt, Nestle and Perigo. This consolidation reflects similar trends in the food industry.

But infant formula was not part of the Biden administration’s initiative last year that highlighted dangerously focused industries including drugs, airlines, hearing aids and Internet services.

Food experts say the strict formula rules set by the Food and Drug Administration have long limited competition.

Beginning in 1980, Congress empowered the FDA to strictly enforce the nutritional content of all formulas sold in the US, implementing additional research and manufacturing standards that have few equivalents around the world. Changes occurred in the 1970s after some babies became ill from deficient formulas.

“They are the strictest food safety guidelines in the US and the US has some of the strictest guidelines in the world,” said Georgia Tech food safety expert Wendy White.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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