The U.S. House Oversight Committee plans to investigate a nationwide baby formula shortage and will seek records from the four largest manufacturers, ABC News reported on Friday, citing letters from the committee chairwoman.
"The national formula shortage poses a threat to the health and economic security of infants and families in communities across the country - particularly those with less income who have historically experienced health inequities, including food insecurity," U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, who leads the committee, wrote in letters to Abbott Nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Nestle USA and Perrigo, ABC reported.
Maloney told ABC the committee is asking the companies for a briefing by the end of the month and wants to know: Do they have enough supply to meet demand? Is there a supply chain problem that can be fixed and how can they make sure this will not happen again?
The investigation, which the report said will look at potential price gouging among other issues, is the latest move in Washington to address the shortage.
U.S. President Joe Biden met on Thursday with executives from infant formula manufacturers and retailers, pressing them to do everything possible to get families access.
Two other House of Representatives committees have announced hearings on the shortage.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will announce new steps in the coming days on importing certain infant formula products, the White House said, and Biden has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to probe reports of predatory conduct such as price gouging.
Formula shortages because of a factory being taken offline have been compounded by supply chain snags and historic inflation, leaving about 40% of baby formula products out of stock nationwide, according to data firm Datasembly.
Less than half of babies born in the United States were exclusively breastfed through their first three months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2020 Breastfeeding Report Card showed.