KANSAS CITY, Mo — The Biden administration announced Monday it would increase overseas baby formula imports. The Food and Drug Administration will streamline its review process to make it easier for products to hit grocery shelves across the United States
The FDA regulations for baby food in the States tend to be stricter than abroad. For this reason, traditionally 98% of American baby formula is domestically made.
“What everyone is watching with the formula is what components go into it and whether it’s being prepared in a safe and sterile environment so that it’s not contaminated with anything that might get into these mixes while they’re being made,” pediatrician Steve Lauer of The University of Kansas Health System said.
The FDA says it will prioritize foreign companies that can quickly demonstrate the safety of their formulas and make the largest shipments. It is the federal government’s short-term solution for the next six months.
“We think this will be a very good substitute for what we buy in this country and certainly safer than some of the home remedies that are out there,” Lauer said.
Ernestine Monteil, a mom of two from Kansas City, says she’d much rather look outside the borders than roll the dice at home remedies.
“People say, ‘Well, you know, my grandma did it and it was fine at the time,’ but I feel like we live in a time where we know better and need to do better. So now we know what children need and we know what is nutritionally balanced,” said Monteil. “I would much rather have an overseas formula that I know is safe, uncontaminated and regulated.”
Her two daughters no longer need formula, but not long ago her second child, Makenzie, depended on it. Monteil recalls when COVID-19 emerged and baby formula was cleared from shelves much like it is now.
“It’s difficult. It’s hard to know that you can’t provide them with the essentials they need,” Monteil said.