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AFP Submits FOIA to Investigate the Food and Drug Administration’s Failures in Baby Formula Crisis

Jul 19, 2022 by AFP

Arlington, Va. – The non-partisan grassroots group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) this week submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request probing the federal government’s role in causing and exacerbating the national baby formula shortage. A mountain of evidence already indicates the overbearing federal regulatory regime – including draconian FDA labeling requirements and tariffs on competing products from overseas – is largely responsible for choking the baby formula supply, creating a terrifying hardship for the parents of infants nationwide.

Moreover, the evidence shows measures enacted by the Biden administration did little to address the root cause of the shortage and likely made it worse. The FOIA request seeks records that should explain what steps the FDA took—or failed to take—that may have exacerbated the crisis.

“The tragic reality is that there is no global baby formula supply problem—just in the U.S.,” said AFP Policy Analyst Michael Lambert.

“European formula stockpiles are more than enough to compensate for supply interruptions here, but overseas products are locked out of the U.S. market by a ridiculous spate of federal regulations the Administration is only relaxing on a time-limited, case by case basis, with no discussion of permanently fixing this government-created problem.”

“Airlifting supplies with military transports is a preposterous PR stunt on its face. It does zero to correct the actual problem, which is formula production.”

During congressional hearings in May, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf referenced written communications with the White House that would reveal the timing of the Administration’s awareness of the baby formula shortage and how existing policies were affecting it. The FDA has declined to make those communications public, despite requests from some members of Congress.

AFP’s FOIA request aims to unveil the Biden administration’s deliberations on the baby formula shortage. AFP plans to assess the contents of any documents the FDA produces, provide analysis, and then share these findings with the public.

The infant formula crisis is another symptom of a problem about which AFP has sounded repeated alarm bells: government policies making it difficult and expensive to do business in the U.S. The consequences for working Americans—most notably out-of-control inflation—have been calamitous.

“Because of its ideology, this Administration is willfully blind to the clear instances where regulations and taxes are the chief cause of the country’s biggest problems,” said Lambert. “Time and again, the White House’s proposed solution to the fallout of government intervention has been more government intervention. The cost of that hidebound approach has been horrific for American households, and we’re not going to see any improvement without a dramatic course correction.”

AFP’s “True Cost of Washington” project aims to educate voters and lawmakers about the connection between government policies and the rising cost of living. It advocates for common-sense solutions that are disappointingly absent from the current political discourse, including: unleashing American energy abundance, ending wasteful spending, and cutting red tape that keeps prices high.