FDA Moves to Ease Nationwide Shortage of Baby Formula

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, amid a baby formula crisis, is calling on the federal agencies and industry leaders to end the shortage.

Youngkin said that he and his office are speaking with industry leaders and working with the Virginia Department of Health to make sure that baby formula is available in the state.

He also said that he’s asking the Food and Drug Administration to “utilize all resources” they can to increase production.

“Simply put, acquiring baby formula shouldn’t be a challenge in the United States,” Youngkin said.

The FDA has said that it is working with producers to correct the problems that shut down its plant and several other states have also made moves to increase their supply of baby formula.

Likewise, President Joe Biden has said that he is increasing his administration’s response and speaking with national retailers about how to bring back stock and fight regional disparities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington. Reach Ivy at ilyons@wtop.com

(12) comments

Kermit Robat

For those who don’t know, cronobacter is a common bacteria. Last fall four infants became ill because of it and tragically two died. Suspecting baby formula, the FDA inspected the abbot plant where it was manufactured and while they found samples of that common bacteria in the plant the genetic makeup of those samples didn’t match the samples that infected the infants. This suggests that the samples were infected after they were opened, if it was even the formula that transmitted the bacteria to the infants. Meanwhile the nation’s largest producer remains shutdown months after the inspections were completed so that sleepy joe can build back better.

Truth be known, the White House is probably hoarding it because Joe likes some similac before his afternoon nap.

John Dutko

And Trump still craps his diapers.

Fake Commenter

The Great MAGA King would never soil himself! Poopy pants Biden on the other hand crapped himself at the Vatican while meeting the Pope.

dave strut

Uh, way to be wrong...

In its March 2022 recall notice, Abbott acknowledged having found “evidence of Cronobacter sakazakii in the plant in non-product contact areas, ”but denied having found the bacterium in finished product. This would appear to be in direct contradiction to the FDA’s revelation that the company had recorded the destruction of product in the past due to the presence of Cronobacter. Specifically, “a review of the firm’s internal records also indicates environmental contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii and the firm’s destruction of product due to the presence of Cronobacter.”

Kermit Robat

@Robert

Specifically, what is it that I wrote that you think you just disproved?

dave strut

"This suggests that the samples were infected after they were opened, if it was even the formula that transmitted the bacteria to the infants"

Kermit Robat

@Robert

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

I believe the quoted statement is accurate. To understand why, let's start with the red herring, i.e., the cronobacter bacteria found at the facility.

It is correct that this is the same type of bacteria that infected the four infants. But this is like saying you and I are related because you're a person and I'm a person. The way to determine whether or not we are related is through a genetic test. This is exactly what the FDA did and they determined that the cronobacter bacteria found at the facility was not related to the bacteria that infected the infants.

In your prior comment you actually strengthened my argument by correctly noting that the bacteria samples found at the facility were environmental. That is, the FDA didn't find the samples in the production area, but elsewhere in the facility. When the FDA did their testing they would collect surface samples throughout the facility and tag the location where those samples were collected. This would facilitate a forensic analysis of how bacteria could have progressed through the facility to the production area and ultimately to the infants. Unfortunately, they were never able to detect the strain that infected the children, much less establish a transmission vector. Moreover, cronobacter is a common bacteria, so finding it in areas unrelated to production and unrelated to the strain that infected the children isn't *that* surprising.

None of this is dispositive, but it is suggestive. Cronobacter is a common bacteria and the strain(s) that infected the four infants have not been found at the Abbott facility. Thus, it is correct to say: "This suggests that the samples were infected after they were opened, if it was even the formula that transmitted the bacteria to the infants."

By the way, that conclusion is not my own. I think I read that in a Wall Street Journal article quoting someone involved in the investigation, but it has been a few days, so I may be misremembering where I read it.

To the point of my original comment, the FDA has known this for months now, yet the facility remains closed. Earlier today the Biden administration announced it was invoking the defense production act to address the shortages. Yet another futile attempt by this administration to give the appearance of trying to fix a problem it created. January 2025 cannot come soon enough.

John Dutko

For those that don't know, there was a recall on baby formula after Cronobacter bacteria was found in Abbot Nutrition formula plants (producers of Enfamil and Similac).

Cronobacter is a bacterium that can cause foodborne illness and pose a threat to newborns.

Kermit Robat

Month 16 of build back better. Thirty two more to go.

CarWash Bonzai

Government: *Creates monopoly*

Government: "Why is this a monopoly, and failing? Clearly the free market has failed, and we need more regulation"

John Dutko

Capitalism 101 begs to differ.

Duke Nukem

Got to tear it all down to build back better...amirite? The war on children (born and unborn) continues.

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