National WIC Association

May 12, 2022

New White House Actions Build on Interagency Response to Abbott’s Recall of Infant Formula

National WIC Association: “WIC families must not be limited in their options when manufacturers are still grappling with how to put stock on the shelves.”

Earlier today, the White House announced a series of additional steps to address shortages in the domestic infant formula supply.

Brian Dittmeier, Senior Director of Public Policy at the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response:

“Since day one of Abbott’s recall of certain infant formula products, the Biden administration has worked across agencies to address limited supply and provide relief for parents. Today’s actions by the White House continue to put families first as the administration leverages all available tools and works with a broad range of stakeholders to account for the consequences of Abbott’s recall.

“The more than 1.2 million infants receiving formula benefits through WIC are typically limited by federal law to a specific brand of infant formula. Swift steps taken by USDA and WIC agencies shortly after the recall and additional actions announced today by the President ensure that a broader range of products - including larger container sizes and additional brands - are available to WIC families. To guarantee formula-fed infants have the nutrition they need to thrive, WIC families must not be limited in their options when manufacturers are still grappling with how to put stock on the shelves.

“We are also encouraged by the President’s actions to increase supply through imports and investigate unfair market practices. It is unsettling that anyone would exploit this moment – when parents are struggling to figure out how to feed their babies – for the purpose of personal profit.

“We must remain mindful of the structural factors that led to this moment, including the extreme consolidation of the infant formula market. When so few companies – with such highly centralized operations – command the overwhelming majority of the domestic infant formula supply, a single plant being shuttered for a few weeks can have catastrophic effects. We will continue to work with the interagency efforts, industry stakeholders and community partners to keep all parties focused on what truly matters: the health and well-being of our nation’s babies.”

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The National WIC Association (NWA) is the non-profit membership organization for State and local providers of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). NWA is the go-to voice of and for WIC staff at more than 12,000 WIC locations across the country who work to support more than 6.2 million mothers and young children. For over three decades, NWA has worked to build broad, bipartisan consensus for WIC’s programmatic goals and public health mission. NWA provides member-driven advocacy; education, guidance, and support to WIC staff; and drive innovation to strengthen WIC as we work toward a nation of healthier women, children, and their families. Learn more at www.nwica.org