Yesterday, Congress passed the Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act, bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Congressman Salud Carbajal aimed at boosting domestic baby formula production and getting more product on shelves amid the continued shortage across the United States.
The House unanimously approved the legislation Thursday afternoon. Earlier in the day, the bill passed the Senate unanimously. It now goes to President Biden for his signature.
"My number one focus in Congress is lowering the cost of living for the Central Coast, and this legislation is just one more example of how my colleagues and I are working across the aisle to support families, fix formula shortages, and keep our infants healthy and well-fed. This measure, combined with the Formula Act that Congress approved in July, will help get more safe, affordable formula on store shelves and increase domestic production capacity," said Rep. Carbajal. "I'm proud to see this bill reach the President's desk after unanimously passing the House this week, and look forward to getting this and other legislation implemented to help families facing supply chain disruptions and rising food and gas prices."
The bill temporarily lifts tariffs on safe imported "base powder,' a key component filled with essential proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that is mixed with nutrients and other ingredients to make the formula that parents buy on store shelves or online.
Nationally, the out-of-stock rate for formula is 61%, down from its May high of 86%.
Lifting the tariffs on base powder and increasing domestic manufacturing would be especially helpful for families participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which must be used in brick-and-mortar retail stores and cannot be used for online purchases currently. About half the baby formula purchased in the United States is purchased through WIC.
Earlier this year, Congress passed the Formula Act that temporarily lifted tariffs on safe imported baby formula. The bipartisan bill was overwhelmingly supported in the House and Senate. It is currently reducing the cost of imported formula for parents by over 25%.