Online shopping and supply chain resiliency are two of the main ways the Department of Agriculture plans to protect infant formula access through the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

The steps are outlined in a fact sheet released by the Biden administration. USDA attributes the actions to “the recent crisis and new authority provided through the bipartisan Access to Baby Formula Act.”

USDA says it specifically plans to work with state agencies “to include a provision in future infant formula rebate contracts to include remedies in the event of an infant formula recall, including how an infant formula manufacturer would protect against disruption to program participants in the state.”

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The actions will also include steps to be better prepared for supply chain disruptions. That planning “might include how WIC agencies will coordinate with health care centers to manage the supply of specialty formula or an integrated plan for WIC retailers to share information about infant formula stock with WIC to support a formula locater,” the department said.

USDA also plans to test and launch online infant formula sales for WIC participants and add transparency steps to the bidding process undertaken by infant formula manufacturers.

According to USDA, 1.2 million infants currently receive WIC formula benefits and more than half the nation’s infant formula is purchased by WIC participants.

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