Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
Powerful storms tore through Michigan on June 13 causing flooding in a Sturgis, Michigan baby formula factory, forcing the plant to close. The plant is owned by Abbott Nutrition and, as previously reported, was closed in early February in connection with four infants being hospitalized. Abbott denies that the illnesses were caused by its baby food. The February closure made baby formula shortages worse, creating a crisis where parents were struggling to feed their children. This time however, experts say that there is enough baby formula to meet demand, and there will not be another shortage.
The difference this time comes down to actions that President Biden took in May. Biden began by launching “Operation Fly Formula,” which allowed military flights to bring baby formula from Europe into the United States. The President also enacted the Defense Production Act (DPA) to make sure baby formula makers were able to produce at maximum capacity. The DPA allows baby formula companies to demand that farms and other suppliers give baby formula factories what they need first. Between Operation Fly Formula and the DPA, the United States was prepared to handle another factory closure. Dr. Robert M. Califf, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), called the Sturgis closure “an unfortunate setback and a reminder” that there are other reasons factories close. “I want to reassure consumers the all-of-government work to increase supply means we’ll have more than enough product to meet current demand,” Dr. Califf added.