May 24, 2022 – The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an order on Monday to speed up the delivery of baby formula ingredients to help with the formula shortage.
The national emergency declaration waives hours-of-service requirements for commercial vehicle drivers who are transporting formula, formula ingredients, and packaging, according to Reuters.
The waiver includes formula, packaging, and ingredients such as whey, casein, corn syrup, and hydrolyzed protein. The emergency declaration is effective immediately and remains in effect until June 30, unless canceled or extended.
“Such emergency is in response to product recall and unplanned closure of a key manufacturing facility of baby formula, an essential supply,” Robin Hutcheson, the agency’s deputy administrator, wrote in the declaration.
Last week, President Joe Biden used the Defense Production Act to increase baby formula production, requiring suppliers to direct ingredients to formula makers as a priority.
After that, motor carriers and drivers asked the White House and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration whether specific ingredients in baby formula were included in the waiver, Reuters reported, which prompted the agency to issue the declaration for finished formula and products involved in the production line. In particular, the waiver provides emergency relief from a provision that dictates maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles.
Biden also launched Operation Fly Formula to allow Department of Defense commercial aircraft to import formula that meets U.S. safety standards. On Sunday, a military cargo plane carrying the first shipment of infant formula from Europe to the U.S. landed in Indianapolis, Reuters reported.
The FDA and Abbott Nutrition have also agreed on next steps to reopen Abbott’s facility in Sturgis, MI, which was closed due to concerns about bacterial contamination after four babies got sick.