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Federal action continues on infant formula shortage

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    Federal action continues on infant formula shortage

    Though the months-long infant formula shortage has improved somewhat in recent weeks, the low stock continues to impact county residents across the nation. With many families still struggling to find and purchase infant formula, Congress and the White House have taken additional steps in recent weeks to address the crisis.
    Federal action continues on infant formula shortage
    August 4, 2022
    August 4, 2022, 11:30 am
  • Blog

    Federal action continues on infant formula shortage

    Though the months-long infant formula shortage has improved somewhat in recent weeks, the low stock continues to impact county residents across the nation. With many families still struggling to find and purchase infant formula, Congress and the White House have taken additional steps in recent weeks to address the crisis.  

    New Steps to Support WIC Participants 

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended funding flexibility through September 30, 2022 for the Special Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program to cover the cost of non-contract formula for WIC participants. WIC operates through 1,900 local agencies at 10,000 clinic sites, many of which are county health departments, to provide nutrition services to low-income pregnant and post-partum women, children, and infants and is responsible for providing formula benefits for 1.2 million low-income infants. 

    USDA has also released two new informational resources for WIC participants. The first resource addresses WIC nutrition assessment during the infant formula shortage. This resource contains a series of considerations and tools that WIC staff can use to accurately evaluate nutrition risks that WIC participants may face during the infant formula shortage. USDA also released a resource on combination feeding, the practice of using both breastmilk and formula to feed infants. The resource includes tips for safe combination feeding, including ways to introduce breastfeeding and monitoring infant health. 

    Legislative Action

    On July 21, President Biden signed the Formula Act (P.L. 117-160) into law, suspending tariffs on imports of finished infant formula through December 31, 2022. These tariffs increase the cost of infant formula imported from certain countries, which can exacerbate supply chain issues and prevent families from accessing infant formula. 

    Members of Congress are also urging infant formula manufacturers to stop sending infant formula samples to people on consumer lists while the shortage persists. On July 21, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and 13 other lawmakers sent a letter to the Infant Nutrition Council of America, a trade group representing major infant formula manufacturers, to cease the advertising practice in order to preserve supply for families in need. 

    Operation Fly Formula

    The Biden administration also continues to conduct missions as part of Operation Fly Formula, which aims to get more infant formula to store shelves by using Department of Defense aircraft to fly in formula from overseas. Operation Fly Formula has had 17 operations so far, the most recent of which were two flights from Switzerland to New York on July 21 and 22. Together, the imports from Operation Fly Formula have transported 61 million eight-ounce bottle equivalents to the U.S. 

    As trusted community messengers, county leaders should continue to direct residents to credible resources such as the Department of Health and Human Services’ Landing Page on Information for Families During the Formula Shortage. This resource provides information and answers in multiple languages to common questions for families on where to find formula and tips for finding safe substitutes. USDA also maintains an infant formula shortage resource page, which contains information to assist WIC program stakeholders in helping families safely acquire infant formula. 

    NACo will continue to monitor the infant formula shortage and the response by our federal partners. 

    Additional Resources

    • NACo Blog: Biden administration announces new resources to address the infant formula shortage 
    • NACo Blog: Lawmakers and White House take steps to address infant formula shortage 
    • NACo Blog: How to help county residents cope with the infant formula shortage 
    Though the months-long infant formula shortage has improved somewhat in recent weeks, the low stock continues to impact county residents across the nation. With many families still struggling to find and purchase infant formula, Congress and the White House have taken additional steps in recent weeks to address the crisis.
    2022-08-04
    Blog
    2022-08-04
Despite recent improvements, many families still struggle to purchase infant formula Key agencies and lawmakers are acting to improve supply chain and funding flexibility to increase supply of infant formula

Though the months-long infant formula shortage has improved somewhat in recent weeks, the low stock continues to impact county residents across the nation. With many families still struggling to find and purchase infant formula, Congress and the White House have taken additional steps in recent weeks to address the crisis.  

New Steps to Support WIC Participants 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended funding flexibility through September 30, 2022 for the Special Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program to cover the cost of non-contract formula for WIC participants. WIC operates through 1,900 local agencies at 10,000 clinic sites, many of which are county health departments, to provide nutrition services to low-income pregnant and post-partum women, children, and infants and is responsible for providing formula benefits for 1.2 million low-income infants. 

USDA has also released two new informational resources for WIC participants. The first resource addresses WIC nutrition assessment during the infant formula shortage. This resource contains a series of considerations and tools that WIC staff can use to accurately evaluate nutrition risks that WIC participants may face during the infant formula shortage. USDA also released a resource on combination feeding, the practice of using both breastmilk and formula to feed infants. The resource includes tips for safe combination feeding, including ways to introduce breastfeeding and monitoring infant health. 

Legislative Action

On July 21, President Biden signed the Formula Act (P.L. 117-160) into law, suspending tariffs on imports of finished infant formula through December 31, 2022. These tariffs increase the cost of infant formula imported from certain countries, which can exacerbate supply chain issues and prevent families from accessing infant formula. 

Members of Congress are also urging infant formula manufacturers to stop sending infant formula samples to people on consumer lists while the shortage persists. On July 21, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and 13 other lawmakers sent a letter to the Infant Nutrition Council of America, a trade group representing major infant formula manufacturers, to cease the advertising practice in order to preserve supply for families in need. 

Operation Fly Formula

The Biden administration also continues to conduct missions as part of Operation Fly Formula, which aims to get more infant formula to store shelves by using Department of Defense aircraft to fly in formula from overseas. Operation Fly Formula has had 17 operations so far, the most recent of which were two flights from Switzerland to New York on July 21 and 22. Together, the imports from Operation Fly Formula have transported 61 million eight-ounce bottle equivalents to the U.S. 

As trusted community messengers, county leaders should continue to direct residents to credible resources such as the Department of Health and Human Services’ Landing Page on Information for Families During the Formula Shortage. This resource provides information and answers in multiple languages to common questions for families on where to find formula and tips for finding safe substitutes. USDA also maintains an infant formula shortage resource page, which contains information to assist WIC program stakeholders in helping families safely acquire infant formula. 

NACo will continue to monitor the infant formula shortage and the response by our federal partners. 

Additional Resources

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    <h3><strong>Counties Matter in Human Services</strong></h3>

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    Human Services & Education Steering Committee

    All matters pertaining to children’s issues, foster care,  public assistance and income support, services to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, immigration policy, social services, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. Policy Platform & Resolutions 2022-2023 2022 NACo Legislative Priorities
    page

    <p>All matters pertaining to children&rsquo;s issues, foster care,&nbsp; public assistance and income support, services to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, immigration policy, social services, and elementary,

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