The FDA announces that it will make it easier to import some baby formulas to reduce the shortage

The United States produces 98% of the baby formula it normally uses, and the imported formula comes primarily from Mexico, Ireland and the Netherlands, the company said in a statement. But because of the shortage, the FDA is “not opposed to importing some baby formula products for the overseas market” and outlining the US supply of products produced domestically for export to other countries. Countries.

“Companies wishing to take advantage of this flexibility must submit information to the FDA to quickly assess whether the product is safe to use and provides adequate nutrition,” the company said. “For example, information on labeling, nutrient adequacy and safety testing and facility inspection history.”

Management will “have a good chance of being successful, and will prioritize applications that represent clear quality and safety and adequate nutrition,” a White House official said. He told CNN that it has security surveillance systems similar to those in the United States, including those imported from Ireland, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the Netherlands.

The FDA said it was already in discussions with some manufacturers and suppliers about additional supply, but officials warn that even importing the formula from abroad will not provide immediate relief.

“With this flexibility, we expect products that can quickly meet safety and nutrition standards to hit U.S. stores in a few weeks,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Khalif said in a statement.

Susan Mane, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Consumption Nutrition, said in a press conference on Monday, “It depends on what kind of information we receive from others, but we look at it on a weekly basis. Getting the imported product on the market.”

The news comes as the White House is working with major manufacturers Help provide logistical support During childhood Lack of formula, An official said in a statement on Monday.

“The White House is in constant dialogue with four older child formula manufacturers, Reckitt, Abbott, Nestle / Gerber and Ferrico, working with them to identify traffic, logistics and supplier barriers to increasing formula production in the U.S. – and F.D. A-approved facilities expand the size and speed of FDA-approved formulas shipped into the country and ensure faster transitions from formula factories to retailers, “said a White House official.

CNN released the news earlier on Monday The Biden administration faces a barrage of questions and criticisms about the national baby formula shortage, which has left anxious and angry parents rushing from store to store in search of baby food. Admin has launched a new website, HHS.gov/formulaTo provide resources to families in need, but when a CNN reporter tested some of those options, the exercise apologized to customer service representatives. Key recommendations listed on the New Health and Human Services website.
White House The official said he was “in constant contact” with Target, Amazon, Walmart and other major retailers, adding that “some areas of the country have been identified and the formula for children is very low and has offered to work with manufacturers. We need to come up with an extra formula. “
President Joe Biden holds virtual meetings with Target and Walmart leadership on Thursday As formula manufacturers Reckitt and Gerber, respectively. According to officials, officials are “in close contact to follow up on those conversations.”

There are also efforts to increase the supply chain by accessing suppliers from formula manufacturers.

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“We liaise with suppliers for infant formula manufacturers to inform them that their products are important in increasing formula production for American children, and they should prioritize production and distribution,” the official said.

Khalif, who attended CNN’s “New Day” event on Monday, said management was “doing everything we can” to address the shortage.

Calif.

The company said Monday that it would take six to eight weeks for the products to reach store shelves after relaunching the Abbott site.

Emphasizing how effective the move to facilitate the importation of certain formulas would be, the caliph said that in “a few weeks” the situation would “gradually improve” to a much wider extent.

This Thursday, Khalif testified before the Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee under the supervision of the FDA’s 2023 budget request and child formula.

The shortage of formula for children has been exacerbated by the closure of the Abbott Nutrition facility at Sturkis in Michigan, the nation’s largest formula plant.

Production at the facility was halted in February after four children who ingested the factory-made formula were reported to be infected with a rare and serious infection caused by the Chronobacter Sakasaki bacteria. Two children died in it. Even a whistleblower Detailed allegations to the FDA Abbott was hiding safety issues a few months before the baby formula was withdrawn in February.

However, in the end, tests conducted by the FDA and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the genetic sequences of the plant’s chronobacter samples did not match those isolated from infected children or the formula in their homes. Abbott said in a news release that the genetic samples of sick children did not match and there was no correlation between their cases.

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In addition, Abbott said no baby formula distributed to consumers has been tested positively for Chronobacter or Salmonella.

Pressing on how quickly the supply will return to normal, HHS Secretary Xavier Beserra declined to comment on what CNN said on Monday was “the one who can tell you the timeline.”

Beserra said he was working with the federal government to ensure that the security concerns raised by them were addressed and that “this should be done in a few weeks”.

“We do not operate their plants. Only they can address the security concerns identified by our research. They have been doing this for some time. We have been advising them on what they should do,” Beserra told CNN’s Kate Bold. “This time.”

“We will do everything we can to pull all the levers we can to help it move as quickly as possible, but they control their plant. They own and operate it. They are the ones who have to make the adjustments.”

Abbott said last week it could resume production at its Michigan facility with FDA approval pending within two weeks, but it could take a few more weeks until the formula is on the shelves.

On CNN, Becerra echoed management’s response to Abbott’s recall and complaint, saying “we are moving as fast as we can.”

“If you’re going to do something drastic like prompting a manufacturer to pull a product off the shelf, the FDA is moving at a planned pace to make sure there’s good evidence for it. That’s why it will take some time,” he said. .

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This story has been updated with additional reporting.

CNN’s Brenda Goodman, DJ Judd, MJ Lee and Jacqueline Howard contributed to the report.

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