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Sen. Warnock criticizes FDA's handling of baby formula shortage in letter, demands answers

In a letter, Warnock emphasized that the timeline in which the FDA responded to initial complaints about contaminated formula was alarming.

ATLANTA — As the nationwide baby formula shortage continues to leave families scrambling to find solutions, on Wednesday, Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock urged federal regulators to improve their response time and help fix the issue.

Warnock sent a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Robert Califf and criticized the way the FDA handled the baby formula shortage. 

He emphasized that the timeline in which the FDA responded to the initial complaints about contaminated formula was alarming, outlining the timeline of concerns.

In September 2021, the FDA received some of the first complaints about bacteria from the baby formula manufacturer Abbott Nutrition. In the letter, Warnock outlines that Abbott is responsible for 48% of the country’s formula production, however, no steps were taken to mitigate the exposure of bacteria in the product. 

RELATED: Baby formula shortage continues: What we know about shuttered plant

Six months later, in February 2022, the FDA began investigating cases of rare bacterial infections that reached four infants after they were fed formula, according to the Associated Press. Two cases were fatal, and Abbott Nutrition was forced to pull its product from the shelves.  

Although the Associated Press said that it was not certain if the bacteria came from the manufacturing plant, Abbott Nutrition was forced to halt the production of formula as an investigation was conducted on the health and safety of the plant. 

As of June 2022, Abbott Nutrition’s doors are still closed. While families across the U.S. continue to struggle to find the baby formula on shelves, Warnock is asking the FDA how they plan to prevent shortages in the future. In addition, he is asking for an estimated target date for when Americans can expect formula supply to return to pre-shortage levels.

Warnock is requested a written response from the FDA by July 31.

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