(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Governor Tom Wolf, along with First Lady Frances Wolf, on Wednesday highlighted an investment in ByHeart, the first new FDA-registered formula manufacturer to hit the nationwide market in 15 years.
“The United States is facing a critical infant formula shortage that’s causing pain for families right here in Pennsylvania. The shortage is fueled, in part, by the fact that the nationwide market is dominated by just a few manufacturers,” said Governor Wolf. “I’m honored to have had the opportunity to invest in a solution and that ByHeart chose Pennsylvania as home. They’re simultaneously feeding families and feeding our local economy.”
Governor Wolf invested $1.75 million in ByHeart from a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, which enabled them to complete their canning line and dry blend area at their new facility in Reading.
The state investment also supports the creation of 50 new jobs for the Reading community.
“When we founded ByHeart, we made a commitment to own and oversee our supply chain – to take a path no new entrant has in decades and acquire manufacturing, directly source all of our ingredients, conduct the largest clinical trial from a new brand in over 25 years. That decision was motivated by quality and innovation,” explained ByHeart Co-Founder and President Mia Funt. “We knew we had to do the hard work to deliver the most wholesome and nutritious alternative to breast milk – with cleanest ingredients – so parents could feel confident about how they feed. What we didn’t know at the time was how valuable this approach would become in having levers in our control to show up for parents in this shortage crisis, and we appreciate all support and investment from the Commonwealth towards ByHeart’s continuing efforts to fortify infant nutrition’s critical infrastructure.”
According to the governor’s office, Pennsylvania is the first state in the nation to directly invest in a partial solution to the nation’s formula shortage.
“Mothers like me have been desperate to find formula—crossing state lines, posting on social media—to feed our children,” said Isabella Torres, Reading-area mother of a three-month-old. “While I am still worried, I am also grateful and hopeful. Hopeful that investments in facilities like ByHeart will increase baby formula production so that parents like me don’t need to worry any longer.”
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“The ongoing infant formula shortage has taken a toll on parents in the commonwealth and the entire country. Pennsylvania’s rich food production industries place us in a position to help ease the burden people are feeling and increase the supply of a product that is crucial to the health and wellbeing of babies,” said Senator Judy Schwank. “ByHeart is a company that saw all of the positives the commonwealth had to offer and made a big investment here in Pennsylvania that will benefit our economy while helping to ease the shortage nationwide.”