Abbott Laboratories, located in Sturgis, Michigan, is currently being investigated by the federal government in relation to the crisis involving baby formula, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
A representative from Abbott stated that they have been notified of the investigation by the Department of Justice and that they are fully cooperating with the probe.
In 2021, it was reported that 74% of baby formula products were out of stock in the United States.
This shortage was particularly severe in certain states, with over 87% of baby formula being unavailable.
Joe Biden and the Democratic officials working in his administration claim that they were not aware of the issue until April 2022.
However, Abbott, a leading infant formula manufacturer, had warned of a potential shortage as early as October 2021 after their Michigan plant was closed due to the presence of the cronobacter pathogen.
In January of last year, FDA inspectors discovered the presence of the cronobacter pathogen at the plant after reports of babies becoming ill after consuming the company’s formula.
The bacteria found in the supply reportedly led to at least four infant illnesses, including two deaths.
However, the Food and Drug Administration reports that none of the five identified strains match those found in samples taken from sick babies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a further analysis using whole genome sequencing on the samples from the affected babies and found that the Cronobacter strains did not match any known strains in the National Center for Biotechnology Informatics (NCBI) database.
Additionally, product samples collected by the FDA from the facility were found to be free of Cronobacter.
Abbott Laboratories controls about 42% of the U.S. baby formula market. Was the shutdown of production at a company that supplies formula to over 40% of U.S. babies truly necessary? Could other measures be taken to ensure quality without halting production? Baby formula demand isn’t elastic. If the supply shrinks, babies cannot consume less. It raises questions about if the actions of the FDA are in people’s best interest.