Advocates want answers from feds on infant formula outbreak and shortage; Congress, Biden act to ease situation

The shortage of infant formula and the food safety reason behind it are front and center for groups like Consumer Reports and the Environmental Working Group, which are calling on Congress to take action.

Representatives from both organizations discussed problems with the internal structure at the Food and Drug Administration and how that complicated the situation involving Abbott Nutrition and the current shortage of infant formula that is plaguing parents across the country. In relation to an outbreak, the company initiated a massive recall that is behind the current formula shortage.

A media call yesterday gave the consumer advocates the chance to raise questions.

Scott Faber, senior vice president for governmental affairs with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), said there are four lines of questioning that should be pursued by lawmakers.

First, the EWG and other consumer groups want to know what happened with a 33-page whistleblower document that was … Read more

Publisher’s Platform: Mr. Abbott, you are going to face criminal sanctions

– OPINION –

According to the CDC and FDA, at least 4 kids were sickened and of those two died, from drinking Abbott infant formula. Abbott denies the connection.  However, the resulting investigation and inspection (and whistleblower documents) uncovered enough problems in the Abbott facility to shutter it causing havoc with supplies of infant formula. The facility is now set to reopen, but not before the U.S. Attorney sued Abbott and several employees. In the complaint, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the FDA, the government alleges that powdered infant formula products manufactured at Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis facility were adulterated because they were made under insanitary conditions and in violation of current good manufacturing practice requirements.

Abbott is essentially confessing to the violations in the below consent decree. Under the proposed consent decree, Abbott Nutrition will be required to retain an independent expert to review the

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Committee’s disinterest in food safety may be reason for delaying confirmation

It’s been six months since the White House announced President Biden was appointing  Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban to serve as USDA’s Undersecretary for Food Safety, and nothing more has happened.

By protocol, the undersecretary is the top food safety post in the federal government.  But that has not made any difference to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, where the Esteban appointment has remained week after week, and month after month awaiting a needed confirmation hearing that has not occurred.

It’s now likely that if Esteban ever does win U.S. Senate confirmation, he will be among the last of Biden’s original appointments to do so. About 100 of the top 700 Biden executive appointments still require Senate confirmation.

Esteban needs to have his nomination heard and recommended to the full Senate before his confirmation vote.  He is no closer to accomplishing those steps than he was six months ago.

If confirmed … Read more

Prosecutors open criminal inquiry into French E. coli outbreak linked to Nestlé pizza

French authorities have stepped up their investigations related to an E. coli outbreak in the country linked to pizzas made by Nestlé.

The latest figures from Santé publique France show 56 cases and two deaths from Buitoni brand Fraîch’Up pizzas.

The Paris prosecutor’s office opened a criminal inquiry into the incident this past week. Charges include the involuntary manslaughter of one person, the injuring of 14 others and marketing a product dangerous to health.

An investigation had already been launched on March 22 and searches of the Nestlé factory in Caudry took place, authorized by the public health department of the Paris prosecutor’s office, on April 13.

A judicial inquiry is led by an investigating judge and was opened at the request of the public prosecutor to carry out such a highly complex investigation.

More than 50 children sick
Of the 56 infections, 54 were caused by E. coli O26 … Read more

Publisher’s Platform: Abbott caused the infant formula crisis, but the FDA and public health enabled it – Congress needs to fix it

This past week the CDC declared an outbreak of Cronobacter infections over after the FDA received four complaints of Cronobacter infections in infants beginning on September 20, 2021, through January 11, 2022. Two of the babies died. Parents of all four infants reported having fed their children formula produced by Abbott Nutrition before they became ill. Although five strains of Cronobacter were found in the production plant, none of them was an exact match for the patient samples. The CDC worked with the FDA and state health departments to investigate the outbreak and the plant remains closed while the investigation continues.

A worldwide recall of formula from this plant has caused empty store shelves and desperation from worried parents looking for safe product to feed their children.  Infant formula has now become a political football between politicians and caused finger pointing between Abbott and the FDA as to who is

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