Four years after it launched a test of online grocery shopping for SNAP recipients — which rapidly expanded during the pandemic — the Agriculture Department proposed the same shopping flexibility for households enrolled in the WIC program. "We agree with WIC participants and stakeholders — online grocery shopping and ordering is essential for busy Americans," said Agriculture deputy undersecretary Stacy Dean, who oversees WIC and other public nutrition programs.
Deputy commissioner Frank Yiannas resigned as the top food safety official at the FDA, effective Feb. 24, in a three-page letter that defended his record and criticized the agency for a decentralized structure that hobbled its protection of the food supply.
New research shows for the first time that powdered baby formula, especially when packaged in boxes, contains significant levels of microplastics.
With shortages continuing in parts of the country, the USDA extended on Tuesday a series of waivers that give WIC households additional options for buying infant formula. The waivers were set to expire on Sept. 30 but now would run through the end of the year.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf said Tuesday that he has taken a closer look at the FDA food program and concluded that "fundamental questions about the structure, function, funding and leadership need to be addressed." The statement comes as criticism of the agency, spurred by the recent shortage of infant formula, has mounted.
A crash program to streamline U.S. imports of infant formula has worked so well, the FDA will make it permanent, said agency leaders on Wednesday. The program, which began in May when domestic supplies ran low, has resulted in shipments from nine countries of enough formula to fill 400 million 8-ounce bottles.
To increase access to infant formula for low-income families enrolled in WIC, the Agriculture Department offered on Monday nationwide waivers to states to receive and distribute imported formula. The waivers were part of administration responses to formula shortages.
The administration’s Operation Fly Formula will deliver 680,000 pounds of infant formula from makers in Great Britain and Australia beginning on June 9, said the White House on Wednesday. The deliveries would be the equivalent of 8.3 million 8-ounce bottles of formula.
The Biden administration's "Operation Fly Formula" will deliver 114 pallets of specialty infant formula to the United States within days in a rapid follow-up to the first load of 132 pallets on Sunday, said the White House. The flights, arranged through the Pentagon, are intended to ease shortages across the nation.
U.S. infant formula makers are revving up production and the door is open to imported formula, so “we should see improvement in a matter of days” from shortages nationwide, FDA commissioner Robert Califf said Thursday on Capitol Hill. Califf also said he would strengthen food safety procedures at the agency, though key lawmakers argued he was not going far enough.
The closure of the Similac factory may have lit the fuse for the nationwide shortage, but a combination of government policy, industry market concentration and supply chain issues supplied the powder.(No paywall)
President Biden invoked his executive powers on Wednesday to give infant formula manufacturers first call on ingredients, and announced Operation Fly Formula, which would carry formula from overseas suppliers to the United States. Both steps were aimed at alleviating shortages that followed the shutdown of a large formula plant in Michigan, where FDA inspectors found bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
House Democratic leaders unveiled a pair of bills on Tuesday to ease infant formula shortages and beef up the FDA office in charge of assuring the products are safe for babies. "People are selling samples on the street. Mothers are watering down formula. Quite frankly, they're desperate," said Rep. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, sponsor of one of the bills.
Abbott Nutrition would hire an outside expert and implement a sanitation plan at its infant formula plant in Michigan as part of returning the plant to production and ending U.S. shortages of formula, said the Justice Department on Monday. The largest U.S. maker of formula, Abbott has said it could resume production within two weeks once it has a federal go-ahead but it could take several weeks for products to reach retailers.