Political fight erupts over baby formula shortage

Political fight erupts over baby formula shortage
Political fight erupts over baby formula shortage Photo credit © Symmone Gauer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Inflation, the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 were forced to make room for a new topic impacting millions of American families - the baby formula crisis.

Amid nationwide product shortages and now, reports of hoarding and price gouging, Pres. Joe Biden spoke Thursday with executives from leading baby formula makers and from retailers including Walmart and Target to explore ways to expedite production and distribution.

There are two major components to the problem.  In February, the Food and Drug Administration shut down a Michigan facility operated by Abbott Laboratories after the agency received reports of children dying or getting sick from contaminated formula produced at the plant.  Experts say the ongoing supply chain issues also play a role.

Critics say government red tape is also to blame, as they claim the FDA moved too slowly in investigating and resolving the reported problems at the Abbott plant.  And, Republicans are seizing on the issue, trying to lay the blame for the baby formula shortage on the Biden administration.  In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott accused Pres. Biden of providing scarce formula for migrant babies detained with their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, while depriving Americans who are desperately looking for the product.