Johnson wants answers from FDA on baby formula shortage

May 12, 2022

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) questioning its lack of action on the ongoing baby formula shortage. South Dakota has an out-of-stock rate of over 50%. FDA became aware of contamination at Abbott Nutrition as early as September 2021 and found an increased level of bacteria in January 2022.

Abbott Nutrition voluntarily recalled powdered infant formula in February 2022. According to reports, Abbott Nutrition accounts for 43% of the market.

“I believe FDA dropped the ball given these concerns date back to 2021. This possible negligence has directly put infants in harm’s way. Twenty-six states, including my home state of South Dakota which has an out-of-stock rate of over 50%, are struggling with supply,” said Johnson. “By comparison, the out-of-stock rate for infant formula was between 2% and 8% in the first half of 2021 – as of April 2022 it is up to 40% nationwide, according to Datasembly. The FDA needs a robust contingency plan in place to prevent these shortages from happening.

“Between September 24, 2021, through December 18, 2021, FDA received three additional consumer complaints. But a follow-up facility inspection did not begin until January 31, 2022. Why was there a 44-delay to initiate this inspection?” asked Johnson.

Johnson requested answers on FDA’s role in working with Abbott Nutrition to bring safe baby formula to market in a timely manner as well a contingency plan for this national emergency. Abbott Nutrition is the sole-source WIC contractor for 23 states and the District of Columbia.