NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A year after a nationwide baby formula shortage sent parents scrambling, there are still more calls for changes.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) held a news conference Monday at the Diaper Bank of Connecticut in North Haven, saying more companies need to make infant formula and proposing a new government agency.
“We need a separate office in government responsible for food safety, including infant formula, and money that can go to the inspectors who maintain oversite into the manufactures, but also more manufacturers,” Blumenthal said.
Right now, food safety falls under the FDA. The Democrat said he wants to double the federal money currently spent on food safety. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, also a Democrat, supports the plan for a new federal food safety agency.
About a year ago, baby formula seemed to disappear from grocery store shelves. Supply chain issues and a recall by one major manufacturer created a scary situation for many new parents. Stores started limiting purchases, with more than 40% of stores saying they were out of stock.
Congress passed the Baby Formula Act of 2022, giving the United States Department of Agriculture permanent authority to respond to disruptions in the baby formula supply.
The FDA is also calling for diversification in the industry so contamination at one plant does not affect other plants in the country.
Even though numbers show that formula stock rates are back to pre-shortage levels, more and more parents are still signing up for websites that monitor formula supplies daily.
Rachel Wrightington, a mother from Stonington, started a Facebook group last year to help parents find formula. It gained about 7,000 members.
“I mean, it was next to impossible [to find formula],” she said. “Compared to now, it’s way better. It’s not the best, but it’s better than it was a year ago. Hopefully, we keep that going and people can keep finding formula.”