House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that there may be a possible need for criminal charges over the nationwide shortage of baby formula.
During a news conference she held addressing the shortage, Pelosi said that “when all of this is done…there might be a need for indictment.”
Although Pelosi did not specify who or what the possible indictment would involve, she clarified that she was not associating her colleagues with her statement.
There have been supply chain shortages throughout the U.S. in the last year, however, there was a recall in February of formula produced at Abbott Nutrition’s Michigan facility, the largest producer of baby formula in the country, following numerous infant illnesses and deaths. This led to shuttering the plant entirely.
Abbott elaborated on the recall, stating that it involved four complaints of Cronobacter sakazakii, an environmental bacteria. Two of the infants became sick, while the other two passed away. However, the company believes that “there is no evidence to link our formulas to these infant illnesses.”
According to Townhall, “reports suggest fault can be found with both FDA and Abbott. In October 2021, prior to the infant deaths, a former Abbott employee warned senior FDA officials concerning food safety violations at the Sturgis plant. But action wasn’t taken immediately. The FDA interviewed the whistleblower two months later, in December, then didn’t inspect Abbott until Jan. 31. It wasn’t until the following month, in February, that the formula was recalled.”
The FDA has since announced an agreement to resume operations at the closed facility, but it could take up to 10 weeks for store shelves to fill.
Pelosi said Friday in a press release that the shortage is “unconscionable and tragic, stating that “[E]nsuring that every precious baby has the nutrition that he or she needs is a matter of the baby’s life and development,” the release said. “While it is essential that we ensure that this issue never happens again, right now the babies are crying and the babies are hungry — so we must take urgent action to protect their health and well-being.”