Commissioner Califf Commits to Sharing Status Updates with Senator Hassan
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) pressed FDA Commissioner Robert Califf on details for when families can expect a readily available supply of baby formula on store shelves. Commissioner Califf shared that Americans can expect a “super supply” – on shelves in the next two to three weeks, despite Abbott Laboratories announcing a temporary plant closure in Sturgis, Michigan due to flooding.
Watch Senator Hassan’s questioning and Commissioner Califf’s remarks here.
“When you testified in front of this committee three weeks ago, you told me that within two months we should be ‘beyond normal and with a plethora’ of infant formula. Then, as Chair Murray noted, Abbott announced last night that its formula production plant in Sturgis, Michigan had flooded, which will ‘likely delay production and distribution of new product for a few weeks,’ but despite that setback, as I understood your answer to Chair Murray earlier, you still hope to have a ‘super supply’ of baby formula on shelves in the next two to three weeks, which I take to mean ‘more formula available than was typical prior to the Sturgis plant shutting down.’ So, is that correct? And if so, how do you expect to achieve that goal with Abbott saying that the Sturgis plant will remain shut down for another few weeks?” asked Senator Hassan.
“Yes, that’s correct with two assumptions,” answered Commissioner Califf. “One is that the companies stick to the production data that they’ve given us, which they’ve already demonstrated that they can do. The second is there’s no other natural disaster like the unexpected one last night.”
Senator Hassan followed up asking for details on a comprehensive plan to ensure the commitments materialize for families struggling to secure formula for their babies.
“During the last hearing, you indicated that an interagency committee has developed a comprehensive plan to get this super supply on the shelves. Will you provide that written comprehensive plan to my office after this hearing?” asked Senator Hassan.
“We will provide our plan, yes,” said Commissioner Califf.
Senator Hassan has led additional efforts in Congress to address the baby formula shortage that they need. Following Senator Hassan’s calls, the administration announced it was invoking the Defense Production Act to boost baby formula supply. Additionally, Senator Hassan cosponsored the bipartisan Access to Baby Formula Act that the President signed into law. Senator Hassan also called on infant formula manufacturers to increase production, and with her colleague Senator Rubio (R-FL), introduced the bipartisan Urgently Feeding America’s Babies Act.