Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., took aim at the Federal Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, blaming the federal agencies for the shortages and prices of meat and baby formula.
"The @US_FDA has had the same impact on baby formula manufacturing as the @USDA has had on meat processing in the United States," Massie said on Twitter Tuesday. "The US-duh and the F-duh are working every day to keep prices high and supply low, while making sure no new businesses can enter the market."
Massie's remarks come as the FDA and Abbott Nutrition neared an agreement to reopen a baby formula plant in Michigan that was shut down after a massive recall of formula in February.
"Our number one priority is getting infants and families the high-quality formulas they need, and this is a major step toward re-opening our Sturgis facility so we can ease the nationwide formula shortage," Abbott CEO Robert B. Ford said in a statement.
It also comes after President Biden announced measures aimed at helping alleviate the shortage, including expediting the import of formula from overseas. In addition to regulating the ingredients and manufacturing of baby formula, the FDA typically heavily restricts overseas imports of formula.
The out-of-stock percentage of baby formula has been on the rise in 2022, hitting about 43% last week. That number is up from 23% in January, while the rate fluctuated between 2% and 8% throughout the first half of 2021.
The shortage, which was initially blamed on supply chain issues that resulted from pandemic restrictions, was worsened when Abbott's Michigan plant shut down.
Baby formula has not been the only industry hit by the supply chain issues since the pandemic began, with consumers suffering through sky-high prices for meat over much of the last few years.
The USDA, which regulates the farming industry, blamed consolidation of the meat industry for the problem last year. It announced steps to prevent "pandemic profiteering," aiming to increase the supply chain by dedicating $650 million toward funding mid-size and small meat and poultry plants.
"We’re trying to support new investment and policies that are going to diversify and address that underlying problem of concentration," said Andy Green, a USDA senior adviser for fair and competitive markets said at the time.
Massie linked the two issues together, saying the FDA's role in the baby formula shortage did not come as a shock while pointing to legislation he introduced at combating it.
"Four corporations control over 80% of the meat that’s processed in the United States. Onerous USDA regulations on small processors have enabled this oligopoly to thrive, while customers experience higher prices and occasional shortages because of it," Massie told Fox News Digital Tuesday. "I authored and introduced the bicameral bipartisan PRIME Act in 2015 to solve this problem.
"So it came as no surprise to me to discover that FDA regulators were responsible for the prolonged (and possibly premature) closure of at least one baby formula production facility, and that FDA regulations have been an impediment to the importation of baby formula from overseas."