President Joe Biden this week signed into law the Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act, a bipartisan measure that was co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara.
The new law is intended to boost domestic baby formula production and get more formula on shelves amid the continued shortage across the U.S.
The House of Representatives and Senate both unanimously approved the legislation late last month. President Biden signed it Monday.
“My No. 1 focus in Congress is lowering the cost of living for the Central Coast, and this new law is just one more example of how my colleagues and I are working across the aisle to support families, fix formula shortages and keep our infants healthy and well-fed,” Rep. Carbajal said in a statement. “This measure, combined with the Formula Act we got signed into law this summer, will help get more safe, affordable formula on store shelves and increase domestic production capacity.”
The bill temporarily lifts tariffs on safe, imported “base powder” — a component filled with essential proteins, fats and carbohydrates that is mixed with nutrients and other ingredients to make the formula that parents buy on store shelves or online.
Nationally, the out-of-stock rate for formula is 61%, down from its May high of 86%, according to Rep. Carbajal’s office.
The congressman’s staff said lifting the tariffs on base powder and increasing domestic manufacturing would be especially helpful for families participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which must be used in brick-and-mortar retail stores and cannot be used for online purchases . About half the baby formula purchased in America is purchased through WIC.
Earlier this year, Congress passed the Formula Act that temporarily lifted tariffs on safe imported baby formula. The bipartisan bill was overwhelmingly supported in the House and Senate. It is currently reducing the cost of imported formula for parents by over 25%, according to Rep. Carbajal’s office.