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Treat out-of-date infant formula as ‘adulterated’, Congresswoman urges

By Mark Astley+

13-Jun-2013

Infant formula products that have passed their sell-by-date could soon be considered adulterated if a recently introduced bill – labelled a “no brainer” – can make through the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The bill - branded the Infant Formula Protection Act – was introduced by US Congresswoman, Grace Meng, earlier this week. If successful, the bill would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to treat out-of-date formula as adulterated.

Through the bill, Meng hopes to “end the disgraceful practice of stores selling expired baby formula.”

Expiration dates are currently required on all infant formula products. There is, however, no federal law that prohibits the sale of infant formula at retail level after it has passed its expiration date.

Under the proposed amendment, it would become illegal for stores across the US to sell out-of-date infant formula. Retailers that failed to comply with this could face a fine of up to $200,000 (£130,000, €150,000).

According to Meng, who represents the Sixth Congressional District of New York, infant formula products lose their nutritional quality over time.

Vitamin levels decrease and changes to the physical properties, such as discolouration and fat separation, may occur following the expiration of infant formula, according to the International Formula Council, which represents the interests of infant formula manufacturers and marketers in North America.

On this basis, the proposed amendment should be a “no-brainer.”

“This legislation is a no-brainer, and it’s unbelievable that it’s even necessary,” said Meng.

“It is unconscionable that many stores have such a reckless disregard for our babies, and it’s another example of putting profits ahead of safety. Parents expect that the products they purchase for their infants to consume are safe and healthy, and that expectation is not one bit unreasonable.” 

“It’s long overdue and I urge my colleagues in Congress, most of whom are parents, to pass it,” she said.

The bill has been assigned to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will consider it before deciding on whether to send it on to the House of Representatives.

If approved by the House, it will be passed onto the Senate, who must approve it and send it on to President Obama for it to be signed into law.

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