NMPF Shapes Policy Response to Infant Formula Shortage

As the country has grappled with severe infant formula shortages brought on by a rare and temporary manufacturing issue, NMPF has worked to encourage a targeted and multi-faceted government response to increase domestic and imported formula supplies in the short-term while outlining the critical need for deeper policy reform to stimulate larger, more diversified U.S. formula production in the future.

NMPF staff in a July 14 meeting with Deputy Director of the White House National Economic Council Sameera Fazili underscored that the long-term solution to the crisis is boosting domestic production. Examining current policy and determining necessary changes to regulation around domestic processing to achieve that goal would best provide the type of production cushion the U.S. needs to ensure a formula availability crisis does not occur again in the future.

To complement its work with the White House and other agencies such as USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative, NMPF is continuing to advise the FDA leadership on weekly calls. The FDA has been providing certain infant formula importers “enforcement discretion,” which has had the effect of waiving certain FDA rules and regulations to enable short-term market access. NMPF has emphasized that these enforcement discretion efforts should only continue until the domestic market balance is restored.

NMPF staff also worked with Congress on the carefully tailored, time-limited Formula Act, H.R. 8351, which was signed into law July 21 after quick House and Senate passage. The law waives U.S. tariffs on certain infant formula imports until Dec. 31 to ensure that the domestic market has the necessary supplies to meet the needs of infants. NMPF insisted the legislation be short-term in light of the short-term nature of formula supply shortages and avoid granting tariff benefits for formula inputs that would simply displace U.S. dairy ingredients rather than work to bridge the remaining formula availability gap.