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Kansas City mother, pediatrician respond to opening borders for baby formula

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Posted at 5:21 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 19:20:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo — The Biden administration announced on Monday it will be increasing imports of baby formula from overseas. The Food and Drug Administration will be streamlining its review process to make it easier for products to make it to grocery shelves in the U.S.

FDA regulations for baby formula in the states tend to be stricter than abroad. For this reason, traditionally 98% of American baby formula is made domestically.

“What anybody is watching in formula is what are the components on it and is it prepared in a safe and sterile environment so that it’s not contaminated with anything that might get into those mixes as they are being made,” pediatrician Steve Lauer with The University of of Kansas Health System, said.

The FDA says it will prioritize foreign companies that can quickly prove the safety of their formulas and provide the largest shipments. It is the federal government's short-term solution for the next six months.

“We think that this will be a very good substitute to what we’re buying in this country and certainly safer than some of the home remedies, home recipes that are out there,” Lauer said.

Ernestine Monteil, a Kansas City mother of two, says she would much rather search beyond borders than roll the dice on home remedies.

People are saying, 'well you know my grandma did it and it was fine then,' but I feel like we live in a time of know better, do better. So we know now what kids need and we know what is nutritionally balanced,” Monteil said. “I would much rather have a formula from overseas that I know is safe, not contaminated and is regulated.”

Her two daughters no longer need formula, but it was not long ago her second child, Makenzie, depended on it. Monteil remembers when COVID-19 emerged and baby formula was cleared from the shelves, much like now.

“It’s difficult. It’s hard knowing that you can’t provide them the essential thing that they need,” Monteil said.