The Biden administration’s response to a worsening baby formula shortage crisis is prompting bipartisan criticism.
The president’s handling of the issue has been objectively bad.
Forty-three percent of baby formula was out of stock nationwide during the week ending May 8, according to retail pricing data from Datasembly.
Formula stocks dwindled across 2021 before reaching crisis levels after a February 2022 recall by Abbott Nutrition, a major formula manufacturer that corners roughly 40% of the U.S. market.
- Later in February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shut down an Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan, based on reports that four infants were hospitalized and two died after consuming formula made in the facility.
- In some states – Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota – out of stock rates have climbed as high as 50%, NBC News reported Monday.
“If this doesn’t get fixed soon, I don’t know how my son will survive,” one mother, whose son has a rare immune system disease that requires him to drink a specific type of formula only produced by Abbott, told Politico last week.
HOW IS THIS THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S FAULT?
Experts have attributed the shortage of baby formula to a combination of inflation, supply chain issues and the Abbott recall.
The consensus seems to be that the Biden administration is a little bit responsible for the broken supply chains, more so for inflation and very much so for the collapse of the formula market.
- Most notably, Biden’s FDA was aware of potential issues at Abbott Nutrition’s plant as early as last October but didn’t take action for months.
- “Neither FDA nor Abbott will answer specific questions about the status of the investigation or what the plan is to reopen the facility, which has further strained the infant formula supply chain,” Politico reported Saturday.
Americans and lawmakers from across the political spectrum have also questioned why it’s taking so long for the FDA to allow Abbott Nutrition to restart production.
- Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, wrote Tuesday in a letter to the agency that the FDA’s “attempt to balance safety from contaminated product and safe infant development through formula access” is “achieving neither objective.”
- Mother Jones editor Inae Oh wrote Monday: “Women can’t just turn on their breasts like a free-flowing spigot of breast milk. It’s the kind of crisis that parents — both left and right—are going to remember this November.”