Wolf invests $1.7 million in Central Pa. baby formula manufacturer

Infant formula is stacked on a table during a baby formula drive to help with the shortage Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Infant formula is stacked on a table during a baby formula drive to help with the shortage Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

As the U.S. faces a baby formula crisis that has caused some mothers to travel hours to feed their children, Pennsylvania lawmakers are investing in a new factory in Berks County to help fill the void.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday a $1.75 million investment in ByHeart, the first FDA-registered formula manufacturer to hit the nationwide market in 15 years.

“This is really something that I think we need to celebrate now. All of us know that no one solution is going to solve this problem. And ByHeart, as important as it is by itself, is not going to solve it. But every bit helps, and this really helps and in a very timely way,” he said at a press conference at the factory.

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The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant enabled ByHeart to complete sections of its new facility in Reading.

“How we feed our babies is one of the first and most intimate decisions that we make as new parents. And it’s incredibly important. It helps to set the foundation for our baby’s future health,” said ByHeart Co-Founder and President Mia Funt.

Isabella Torres, a Reading-area mother of a three-month-old, said the investment gives her hope.

“Mothers like me have been desperate to find formula — crossing state lines, posting on social media — to feed our children,” she said.  “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 state investment also will create 50 new jobs, Wolf said.

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