I should have known

WSJ, What caused the baby formula shortage

Go ahead, guess.

35 thoughts on “I should have known

  1. My “guess” is unsafe conditions at a major Similac plant causing it to produce dangerous products leading to a shut down. Oh wait, that is not a guess. That is what happened.


    And damn those Democrats for pushing “entitlements” like all those greedy, lazy babies thinking they are “entitled” to be fed. Only people with money should be allowed to feed their babies. It is obvious that if those entitled enfants were not consuming formula there would be no shortage at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Had you read the article, the FDA found no evidence the illnesses resulted from the Abbott Laboratories plant. Of course they let the pant sit idle for 4 months before deciding.

      And no one said anything about poor babies getting fed. The meddling in the marketplace by the WIC program giving state by state monopolies were a big part of the problem,

      But the government screwed up at every step in the process.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’d think there would be a government stockpile somewhere that could be tapped, sort of like the strategic oil reserve, or the inventory of PPE before Covid hit.


      2. Abbott Laboratories had money to increase dividends and found $5 Billion+ for stock buybacks but not enough capital to keep its Similac plant operational and safe. And this was after an FDA audit in 2019 found that their Similac plant was failing and potentially unsafe. They should have addressed the issues more strongly in 2019 but, you know, too much regulation.

        It is greedy mismanagement that caused these problems. The FDA is subject to criticism but not that they did too much but that they did too little.



        Liked by 1 person

        1. So, two disgruntled employees went to the FDA. Whoopi.

          After months of investigation the FDA found no fault by Abbott and there has been no link to illness in any babies connected to the Abbott products.

          BTW, human mother’s milk has bacteria in it and would not pass FDA standards.


          1. …”human mother’s milk has bacteria in it”…

            Then explain “milk banks’ which are being touted as a resource for some who are having a difficult time finding formula.

            Also, the bacteria in mother’s milk is the good gut kind that we all have in us.

            You are just so desperate to scapegoat anything that has to do with the government.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I don’t know what you’re getting at.

            The fact that bacteria can be found in some formula sample does not mean it causes disease. A bacteria free world is a fantasy.


        2. You can shuck and jive all you want, and you can point fingers at the government – always your go to response – but the plant was not properly maintained and operated and THAT is what caused the problem. I suspect it was the company’s liability insurers just as much as the FDA who had to be satisfied before it reopened. Babies dying from shoddy products is an insurer’s nightmare.

          This statement. . .
          “After months of investigation the FDA found no fault by Abbott and there has been no link to illness in any babies connected to the Abbott products.”

          is simply false.

          Plenty of problems were found in the plant, in the practices and in the records. The product recall happened first. The plant was shut down later when the FDA inspected it and found various safety issues.

          It was Abbott – not the FDA – who researched the link to illnesses, and it was Abbott – not the FDA – who could not confirm a link. From WAPO “Abbott said its own investigation concluded that the infant formula made at its Sturgis, Mich., facility is unlikely to be the source of the infections.” How did you put it? Whoopi! The FDA says that it is still investigating.


          Liked by 1 person

          1. The FDA closed its investigation with no action.

            The FDA is well known for making the perfect the enemy of the good.

            There is bacteria present in almost everything, That’s why you thoroughly boil tap water before making homemade formula.

            Cow’s milk and human breast milk have bacteria (Pasteurization only kills pathogens, not all bacteria) Human breast milk could not pass the standards for cow’s milk.


  2. This issue confuses me up one side and down another. For most of human history there was no such thing as baby formula. So how could it happen that a baby formula shortage suddenly is a matter of concern?

    My answer: Everything is broken.


      1. I think Mr. Roberts was going much further back. He seems to think that “things are broken” because many – maybe most – women choose not to use the equipment they were endowed with by their Creator.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Breast feeding has many advantages. But in a shortage of prepared formula, a woman who for her own reasons has chosen not to breast feed can’t change her mind and start fast enough to be useful.

          So, the homemade formula most of us our age were raised on is a useful backup.


          1. With both of our children, my wife was unable to produce enough milk to properly provide the nutrition they needed for healthy growth and development. Our pediatricians (one in California, one in Ohio) both advised to use formula as a supplement.

            My daughter would pump and store her milk so that her children would have the proper nutrition and the benefits of her milk even after she went back to work.

            I am not sure what homemade formulas there were in your time, unless it is the recipe you provided earlier.


          2. There were several formulas,

            The evaporated milk, boiled water and Karo syrup mix, supplemented with cod liver oil, was probably safest, but there were whole milk formulas too.


        2. RE: “So, the homemade formula most of us our age were raised on is a useful backup.”

          Yes, that’s what I was thinking. The puzzle of feeding infants has been solved before.

          Before posting on this subject I visited WebMD.com to find out why baby formula is so important. They claim there is no healthy alternative except mother’s milk. They explicitly warn against using any type of homemade formula. But this doesn’t make sense, since homemade formulas must have existed for millennia before modern formulas were invented.

          I take it that, culturally, we have forgotten that “better” can sometimes be the enemy of “good enough.”


          1. Maybe they (WebMD) warn against home brew formulas for compelling scientific reasons? Culturally we are against “good enough” when “better” is available. Is that a bad thing? Especially with respect to infants? Some with special nutritional needs?

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Babies are being brought to pediatric hospitals dehydrated and starving because mothers are letting them go hungry because they can’t get prepared formula.

            You and I were probably raised on homemade formula, as breast feeding was very much out-of-style at that time, falling back on homemade formula may not be perfect, but it is way ahead of starvation and dehydration requiring hospitalization.


          3. I’m not even sure the formulas are entirely better, Soy based formulas have a lot of plant based estrogen analogues, which may explain millennials.


          4. RE: “Culturally we are against ‘good enough’ when ‘better’ is available.”

            Then we are culturally short-sighted. At present “better” is in shortage.


    1. ” For most of human history there was no such thing as baby formula”

      Nor was there a vaccine for polio, MMR, chicken pox, shingles, chemotherapy for treating cancers, x-rays to determine the extent of an injury, CT scans and MRIs to look deeper into those injuries,. I could go on, but you seem to want to live in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If you recall. I roundly criticized Trump’s protectionist policies at the time.

      My family’s shame is that my paternal great grandfather, Whitmal P Martin, was one of the Bull Moose Republicans who were responsible for the Sugar act that sets quotas on foreign sugar imports.

      Restrictions on trade are rarely justified, and only when products crucial to national defense and that lack alternatives are involved.


  3. “Canada’s strong dairy industry has attracted investment in formula production. But the Trump Administration sought to protect domestic producers by imposing quotas and tariffs on Canadian imports in the USMCA trade deal.”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. “Again, Trump was wrong on protectionism”

        But you keep pointing the finger at the FDA’s actions on one particular unsafe plant as the cause of the shortage.

        If you dig deep enough it is almost certain that those unwise restrictions on the importation of baby formula can be traced to our lack of control over campaign finance. Legalized bribery is the tool of the cronyism you frequently allude to.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Do you have evidence for that?

          But protectionism goes back to before the Civil War, it’s not something Trump invented nor was it born after Citizens United.


          1. I think we agree that trade restrictions are bad, and that industries promote them.

            All the more reason to deny the government power to impose them.

            They’re not all overt like tariffs and quotas. Minor labeling differences can keep foreign food products out.

            But in every case, power given to government will be misused.


          2. “But in every case, power given to government will be misused.”

            But the government needs powers for a variety of very valid reasons. Therefore, the solution is not to remove those powers and suffer the consequences but to take steps to stop them from being abused and THAT comes back to the pernicious role of money in our politics.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. You seem to have lost all perspective.

            Whatever useful and needed power the government exercises there will surely have been an abuse of it somewhere at some time. Government is a human institution. It is not perfect.

            My point is that we should not throw the baby out with the bath water. Instead, we should make that abuse less likely by removing money from politics as much as we can. Regulations should be based as far as humanly possible on science and not on who greases the right palm.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. How do you propose to keep money out of politics? There are too many ways to reward a helpful politician to ban them all. How many spouses of politicians are on Boards of Directors for companies where they have no expertise?

            How many books by politicians are bought by the hundreds to be given away or sit in warehouses, or bought in advance and never even printed?

            How many politicians get cushy jobs when they leave office?

            The only way to keep money out of politics is for them to have nothing to sell.

            Government must have the power to exclude force and fraud, but nothing beyond that to interfere in the economy.

            Otherwise you can only accept corruption.


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