May 17, 2022

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What Caused the Baby Formula Shortage?

2 min read

Empty shelves show a shortage of baby formula at CVS in San Antonio, Texas, May 10.



Photo:

KAYLEE GREENLEE BEAL/REUTERS

By now you’ve heard that some 40% of the nation’s baby formula is out of stock, causing new mothers to hunt from store to store to feed their infants. This should never happen in America. How did it? Here’s the government part of the story you won’t hear from the political class.

Abbott Laboratories

in February recalled several brands and shut down a plant in Michigan after complaints that four infants fell severely ill with a dangerous bacteria after ingesting its powdered formula. The Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation and onsite inspection, noting earlier findings that had detected the bacteria at the plant.

It’s not clear when the FDA was made aware of the problems at the plant and why it didn’t take action sooner. Abbott said this week that “after a thorough review of all available data, there is no evidence to link our formulas to these infant illnesses.” The FDA said Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention closed its investigation after finding no more cases of infant illness.

Some conservatives blame the FDA for causing a scare, but the agency had no choice but to investigate the complaints and warn consumers. The real culprit is government policies that have limited formula options.

Last year Abbott accounted for 42% of the U.S. formula market, about 95% of which is…



2022-05-13 19:08:00

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