The chairwoman of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee is demanding answers from the bosses of the four largest baby formula producers in the United States about what their companies are doing to alleviate the formula shortage that has left parents struggling to feed their children. across the country.
In February, Abbott Nutrition issued a recall notice for formula made at the Sturgis, Michigan, factory, which produces more than any similar facility in the US and shut down production lines after regulators notified the company that four babies had become ill, two of whom later died. away, after being fed formula made there that was contaminated with deadly bacteria.
In a letter to Abbott Nutrition Chairman Chris Calamari, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Consumer and Economic Policy Subcommittee Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi demanded that he inform committee staff by May 26 when the company became aware of the contamination problem, what actions the company took to solve it. and when such actions were taken.
Ms. Maloney and Mr. Krishnamoorthi also asked Mr. Calamari what steps his company took, if any, to mitigate the effects of closing its largest production facility and withdrawing such a large number of formula products.
“Recently issued FDA inspection reports show that your company failed to maintain sanitary conditions and procedures at its Sturgis, Michigan, plant for years. In fact, as early as September 2021, your company was notified of an incident of Cronobacter sakazakii the infection was traced to infant formula produced at the Sturgis facility,” they wrote. “Even more concerning, it appears that your company may have attempted to hide these dangerous sanitation and cleanliness lapses at the Sturgis site from FDA inspectors.”
They also required Mr. Calamari to produce “documents and communications related to sanitary conditions, quality control, or contamination” at the Sturgis facility, as well as all documents related to facility closures and formula recall. , “including, among others, the discovery of suspected contamination; any related tests, inspections or investigations; and any determination related to contaminated infant formula.”
Ms. Maloney and Mr. Krishnamoorthi also sent letters to Mead Johnson Nutrition CEO Kasper Jakobsen, Nestlé USA CEO Steve Presley and Perrigo Company CEO Murray S. Kessler demanding answers about when they found out. companies of the growing shortage of baby formula, what measures have companies taken. and it will take to increase supply to meet demand, which companies are going to “lower prices, avoid price increases, or increase consumer access to their infant formula products,” and when each of the companies expects to produce enough formula to meet the needs of parents. ‘ demands.
“The national formula shortage poses a threat to the health and economic security of infants and families in communities across the country, particularly those with lower incomes who have historically experienced health inequities, including food insecurity.” , they wrote.
They added that it is “critical” that companies “take all possible steps to increase formula supply and avoid price gouging.”