Getting Formula Was a Strain for Many Low-Income Families Before Shortages

Miracle Abbott became pregnant during her junior year at the University of South Carolina Upstate. She worked a low-wage job and had mounting student debt, so the then-19-year-old turned to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, to get infant formula and food. But after she gave birth, her baby had colic and painful reflux and her pediatrician recommended a special formula not available through the program. It took four months, three pediatrician appointments, and two meetings at her local WIC office before the program provided her with formula that worked for her daughter.…

Infant Formula Crisis Highlights Breastfeeding Barriers in Southern States

Despite efforts in recent weeks by the federal government to address the ongoing infant formula shortage, parents are still struggling to find formula. The Food and Drug Administration announced this week that nearly two million cans of infant formula from a United Kingdom-based company would arrive in the United States in the coming days. Abbott Laboratories — the Illinois-based company whose alleged unsanitary conditions led to a voluntary recall of baby formula, the deaths of two infants, and the closure of a large formula manufacturing plant in Michigan, sparking the crisis — announced it will release about 300,000 cans of…

Omar Leads Call for Probe of Baby Formula Industry Amid National Shortage

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and 25 other House Democrats on Friday called for a federal probe of the nation’s concentrated baby formula industry amid a national shortage that has prompted emergency action from lawmakers and the White House. “We are writing to urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to work with relevant federal agencies to investigate the U.S. baby formula industry and study any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply and ultimately harming our constituents,” states the Democrats’ letter to the agency’s chair, Lina Khan. Abbott…

Baby Formula Maker Chose Shareholders Over Safety Amid Deadly Bacterial Outbreak

Financial documents and whistleblower testimony spotlighted by The Guardian on Friday show that the U.S.-based baby formula producer Abbott used the massive windfall profits it accumulated between 2019 and 2021 to enrich shareholders, even amid a deadly bacteria outbreak that has triggered nationwide outrage and contributed to a formula shortage. “Abbott detected bacteria eight times as its net profits soared by 94% between 2019 and 2021,” The Guardian’s Tom Perkins reported. “And just as its tainted formula allegedly began sickening a number of babies, with two deaths reported, the company increased dividends to shareholders by over 25% while announcing a…

Nearly All House Republicans Vote Against Bill to Alleviate Baby Food Shortage

Nearly all House Republicans voted against a bill to provide funding to address the baby food shortage and prevent future such crises despite the GOP’s complaints over the past weeks about the White House’s approach to the issue. The Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, which passed the House 231 to 192 on Wednesday, would provide $28 million in emergency funds to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to alleviate the current shortage and prevent future shortages. All 192 “no” votes came from Republicans, with only 12 members of the party voting with Democrats to pass the bill. House…

Progressives Say Abbott’s “Near Monopoly” Laid Groundwork for Baby Food Shortage

In a push to urge President Joe Biden to take executive action to ease the nationwide baby food shortage, progressive lawmakers are saying that manufacturer Abbott Nutrition should face particular scrutiny for its role in causing the problem. Representatives Jamaal Bowman (D-New York), Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) and Grace Meng (D-New York) sent a letter to Biden urging him to “do everything within your executive authority, across all federal agencies,” to ease the shortage. They say that the president can use the Defense Production Act and powers given to him through the COVID-19 emergency declaration to ease what…