Baby formula supply shortages have led to empty shelves in grocery stores and pharmacies. The Biden administration has pledged to address the crisis as best it can.
In reality, the FDA is launching a PR campaign to convince parents that government action will help solve supply chain problems. This was actually a pandemic-related problem that was made worse by government policies.
The pandemic caused havoc in supply chains. The pandemic caused disruptions in labor, ingredients, and transportation, while parents were encouraged to stockpile formula.
These shortages were manageable. The FDA shut down the Abbott laboratory in Sturgis (Michigan) last February after a suspected outbreak. Two infants died after being exposed to the rare strain of bacteria.
Abbott claims that their plant is not the source of the bacteria. According to the Associated Press, FDA shut down the plant after it discovered “lax safety protocols” and traces of bacteria on multiple surfaces. The bacteria in the plant was not the same strain as the one that infected the infants.
The FDA is yet to determine whether any of the formulas in the plant are contaminated.
Abbott, based in Chicago, said that it is increasing its production at other facilities to make up the gap. This includes air-shipping formula from an Irish plant.
Infants with special formulas or other medical conditions, such as food allergies, digestive problems, or asthma, are particularly vulnerable to shortages.
Abrams stated that many of the very special formulas can only be made in the United States at a factory that had the recall. This has caused a problem for a small number of infants.
Following concerns raised by parents, the FDA stated last month that Abbott may begin to release some specialty formulas not affected in the recalls “on-a-case basis”. This is done in coordination with hospitals and physicians.
There is no shortage of hand sanitizer or toilet paper. It is a shortage of baby food. Worse, this shortage is especially acute for specialty formulas (prescription formulas) where there are no alternatives.
Parents panic and travel long distances to search for a formula for their babies or connect online with other parents who may have the formula they can sell or donate.
The FDA cannot assure parents in crisis that its futile efforts to solve the crisis will make any difference.
Washington Examiner: According to the FDA, it meets regularly with formula manufacturers to discuss ways to increase the production of different types of infant formulas. It also provides foreign formula importers with a simplified entry review process for certain products. The agency also tracks trends in U.S. stock trends to help determine which parts of the country are most in dire need. Companies making production changes to increase production are also being reviewed by the FDA.
Robert Califf, FDA Commissioner, stated that “many consumers have been unable to access critical medical food and infant formula they are used to and are frustrated at their inability to do so.” “We will do everything we can to make sure that there is sufficient product where and when consumers need it.”
The problem is not being managed. It is a supply problem, and FDA and the White House are treating it as a PR problem.
It is a tragic reminder of how incompetent the man at the White House is.