New York politicians are asking the Biden administration to invoke emergency orders to alleviate the baby formula shortage. Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) has also joined the list of New York Congressional delegation members who are pushing for emergency orders to address the crisis.
On Saturday, Zeldin tweeted that the President should utilize the Defense Production Act to make up for the baby formula shortage in the U.S.
Zeldin’s statement came just a day after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced on a radio show that a lack of baby formula could be a life or death situation. She added that she will ask President Biden to make use of a law from 1950 that allows the president to order businesses to manufacture goods during a national crisis.
As the FDA announced plans for importing baby formula a week ago, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), asked for more information from the four biggest baby formula producers in the U.S. regarding the shortage.
On Saturday, a spokesperson for Abbott Nutrition stated that they could start production as soon as the FDA gives Abbott’s plant in Michigan clearance.
It has gotten to a point where black-market vendors, who sell formula for as much as $10 a canister, are facing a shortage in supply as well. However, breast milk banks across the country are now becoming popular in this time of need.
Many critics believe that Abbott is trying to pass the blame onto the FDA for its own shortcomings. However, both have a significant role to play in the present situation.
A food safety lawyer from Seattle, Bill Marler, stated that Abbott could have given the people fair warnings and restarted production. These warnings could have guided the customers to use boiled water and sterilize feeding bottles to protect baby formula against the cronobacter bacteria that caused the government to shut the facility down.
Marler also cited whistleblower reports, according to which, Abbott did not get inspected because of COVID-19 in 2020, which is why the conditions at Abbott’s Michigan plant weren’t up to par with FDA standards.