The Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that it is working with the Biden administration on a plan to allow international shipments of baby formula to remain permanent. The move comes after a baby formula shortage in February prompted the U.S. to enact Operation Fly Formula, which involved 70,000 pounds of formula from Europe.
“For some companies, the agency’s flexibility has resulted in their ability to use a greater breadth of their existing, global manufacturing footprint, creating more resiliency in the U.S. infant formula supply chain and reducing the risk of reliance on too few production facilities supporting the United States,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and Susan Mayne, the director of the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a statement.
The shortage was caused by an investigation into Abbott, a major producer of infant formula, which led to traces of the pathogen Cronobacter sakazakii to be discovered in a Michigan plant. Several brands were then recalled.
The FDA believes this move will help baby formula companies keep up to speed with supplies and production.
“The FDA expects that our continued efforts will help infant formula manufacturers who are new entrants to the U.S. market better understand their options to continue producing and supplying formula to the U.S. in the weeks, months and years ahead,” the statement read.