The emergency originated in the Abbott factory: bacterial contamination had caused dozens of newborn hospitalizations and two deaths. A vast operation has been set up in recent months to transfer tens of tons of product with military flights
“Yesterday, I signed the FORMULA Act into law – a bipartisan bill that will help increase access to baby formula for families across the country. ”, tweets President Joe Biden, also posting a photo of him. The head of the White House, in isolation because positive for Covid, signs the measure that aims to ease the milk powder emergency in the United States, facilitating imports, from which duties are suspended.
On 1 June the US president confessed that he had not known anything “until April” that the powdered milk emergency “was so serious”. A situation that arose following the closure of a plant by the Food and Drug Administration, the federal authority responsible for the supervision of drugs and food products in circulation in the United States. On that same June 1, in fact, Joe Biden had called an urgent meeting with the officials of the White House and the CEOs of the companies producing baby food, to address the issue with them.
The reason for the emergency
At the root of the crisis, the closure of a factory in Abbott Nutrition (Michigan) in February, after the infant formula produced at the plant had made dozens of babies’ sick from bacterial contamination. Which had prompted the FDA to decree the closure of the plant. The Biden administration has considered adopting the Defense Production Act, a Cold War-era law, to increase domestic production of infant formula.
On the other hand, the first military flight from the American base of Ramstein, in Germany, with 132 pallets of Nestlé milk powder on board (1.5 million bottles), dates back to last April 22 and tried to make up for the lack of the product. A second military flight, also in April, had brought over 30 tons of product to Indiana. Robert Ford, CEO of Abbot, the infant formula company, apologized on that occasion to US families for the emergency that had arisen, through an article published in the Washington Post. Initially caused by problems in the supply chain and a shortage of production staff due to the pandemic, the shortage then worsened in February after the deaths of two babies.