Baby Formula Legislation Co-Sponsored by Sen. Marshall Passes Senate, Heads to President Biden’s Desk

(Washington, D.C., May 20, 2022) – The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed critical legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. to address the nationwide baby formula shortage for families participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Access to Baby Formula Act now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. Senator Marshall released the following statement on the Access to Baby Formula Act passing the Senate:

“The Access to Baby Formula Act provides much needed relief to vulnerable Kansas families by loosening the rules for the USDA’s WIC program and expanding which brands and types of baby formula are available to participants. This legislation also gives the USDA the authority to be flexible with WIC rules during future crises, but Americans, especially those struggling to feed their infants or small children, are still owed answers as to why the Biden Administration failed to mitigate the current nationwide supply shortage. President Biden cannot delay in signing this bipartisan measure into law and I will continue to hold his Administration accountable for this hardship facing Kansas families.”

Earlier this week, Senator Marshall led 21 of his colleagues on a letter demanding answers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding its inadequate investigation into Abbott Nutrition’s Michigan manufacturing facility and failure to mitigate the nationwide baby formula shortage. The senator is also seeking answers regarding when the White House was made aware of the dire situation and the steps available to limit the harmful impact on families and their newborns. The letter was co-signed by 21 of Senator’s Marshall colleagues.

Senator Marshall, an OBGYN, also launched a webpage to help struggling Kansans with the baby formula shortage and understand safe infant feeding practices. You may click HERE or on the image below to access the webpage.

Background on the Access to Baby Formula Act

  • Gives USDA permanent authority to respond in the event of a product recall or supply chain disruptions and provide WIC flexibilities including:
    • Allowing vendors to exchange or substitute authorized supplemental foods;
    • Allowing flexibility so a doctor’s note is not needed to access another brand of formula;
    • Flexibilities on the maximum monthly allowance for infant formula, and;
    • Allowing for additional flexibilities so long as they do not substantially weaken the nutrition quality of the products.
  • Gives USDA permanent authority to respond to an emergency or disaster and provide WIC flexibilities as needed.
  • Require baby formula rebate contracts to include a plan to respond to a baby formula recall, including how the manufacturer would prevent shortages of baby formula and require manufacturers to follow these new requirements in the event of a recall.
  • Ensure that FDA and USDA have a Memorandum of Understanding so that FDA is increasing communication with USDA. It is key that USDA has access to information so that the Department is prepared to respond to potential shortages within the WIC program.