RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Food and Drug Administration has announced the steps it is taking to help improve the supply of infant formula — and there has been a concerning shortage as of late.

The infant formula shortage was caused in part by a voluntary recall of several products manufactured by Abbott due to potential bacterial contamination of Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella in February. In the months since the recall, the FDA has been working with Abbott and other infant formula manufacturers to ensure that products being shipped to U.S. markets are safe.

Before the February recall, a strain on the supply chain was already present due to COVID-19. In order to combat potential problems caused by the pandemic, the FDA has been:

  • Meeting with major infant formula manufacturers to better understand their ability to improve efficiency and help them maximize production capability.
  • Helping manufacturers bring safe products to the market by expediting the process of reviewing manufacturing changes.
  • Keeping track of the supply of infant formula and use data to get a better understanding of the pandemic’s effect on supply chains.
  • Keeping track of changes in inventory across regions to determine if the right amount of supply is going to each area.
  • Expediting the certification process for imported products.
  • Streamlining the review process for imported goods coming from facilities with favorable inspection records.
  • Exercising discretion on enforcing minor labeling issues on domestic and imported products.
  • Asking retailers to consider placing purchase limits on products.
  • Not objecting to Abbott releasing products on hold from the February recall in certain circumstances.

The FDA continues to advise against making homemade formula and encourages contacting a health care provider before changing feeding practices for an infant.

The FDA says they will continue working to keep supply levels of infant formula at adequate levels nationwide.