WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and 19 other senators in urging Robert Califf, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, to explain the FDA’s failure to mitigate the nationwide baby formula shortage.
“For decades, the FDA has been the gold standard for approving and regulating medical products and food. Yet this year, the actions of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has raised questions regarding its ability to fulfill its core oversight responsibilities. The safety of, and access to, infant formula should be among CFSAN’s highest priorities, as this food is vital for the growth and development of infants,” the senators wrote.
“We are also concerned as to why FDA leadership failed to be proactive in mitigating the shortage crisis parents are now facing. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed many vulnerabilities across all sectors of industry, and our food supply chain was woefully unprepared to handle challenges here and from foreign partners. Infant formula supplies at local grocery stores were relatively stable for the first half of 2021. The out-of-stock percentage started to climb steadily in the later half and continued to worsen throughout this year,” they continued.
The senators asked Califf several questions, including whether the FDA and White House have a strategic plan in place to mitigate formula shortages and if the FDA made any recommendations to the White House about what actions the FDA can take to handle the shortage.
“The shortage, felt by all families in need, is disproportionately impacting vulnerable populations. . . . The FDA must do everything within its statutory authority to ensure it facilitates access to safe, quality foods,” concluded the senators.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), John Barrasso, (R-Wyo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy, (R-La.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), John Thune (R-S.D.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) also signed the letter.
The letter is available here.