Republican Erupts On Biden Administration

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

He wants answers now!

Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota is pressing the USDA and FDA on their handling of the baby formula shortage, saying the agencies had an “apparent lack of an effective strategy.”

In his letter to the agencies, Johnson pointed to the current shortages that have caused baby formula out-of-stock rates to skyrocket to above 50 percent and have left mothers without formula for their infants.

Johnson queried why agencies hadn’t acted sooner, as they were “aware of contamination at Abbott Nutrition as early as September 2021” and had findings revealing “an increased level of bacteria in January 2022.”

He also called out the FDA for dropping the ball “given these concerns date back to 2021.” He added that the agency’s “possible negligence has directly put infants in harm’s way.”
The South Dakota Republican pointed out how “Twenty-six states, including my home state of South Dakota which has an out-of-stock rate of over 50%, are struggling with supply,” comparing current out-of-stock rates with those experienced in the first half of 2021 when rates were between 2% and 8%.

Johnson also queried the FDA’s delayed response: “Between September 24, 2021, through December 18, 2021, FDA received three additional consumer complaints. But a follow-up facility inspection did not begin until January 31, 2022. Why was there a 44-delay to initiate this inspection?”

His letter also mentioned the need for “robust” contingencies so that such shortages aren’t a likelihood. He also expressed concern for “the apparent lack of an effective strategy to mitigate shortages like the one we are experiencing that risks the lives of infants across the country.”

Johnson’s letter comes after a recall of Abbott’s baby formula that led to nationwide shortages and was prompted by several infant hospitalizations and at least two deaths linked to production at their Michigan plant.