House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mentioned a potential need for criminal charges after solving a nationwide baby food shortage that is leaving many American families desperate.
Pelosi made the remark Tuesday during a news conference she held to address the formula shortage. She said that “when all of this is settled,” she believes “an indictment may be required.”
Pelosi clarified that she did not implicate any of her colleagues with her comment about the possible need for criminal charges.
The US has struggled with supply chain problems in recent months, but the severity of the infant formula shortage was caused by a voluntary recall of certain types of infant formula in February following multiple infant deaths and illnesses.
All of the affected infants had been consuming formulas made at Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan facility, the largest manufacturer of infant formula in the United States. Just Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an agreement to resume operations at the closed facility, but it has been estimated it could take up to 10 weeks for products to return to shelves.
According to a May 11 update Abbott announced, the voluntary recall involved four complaints of Cronobacter sakazakii — a common environmental bacterium — in infants who consumed formula from the plant. Two children became ill and two died.
Abbott said Cronobacter sakazakii was only detected in “non-product contact areas” of the Michigan facility during the investigation. It also said it tested open containers of formula from three of the four cases and two of the three tested negative for the bacteria.
The one that tested positive did not match any strains of bacteria discovered at the Michigan facility, and genetic sequencing of two samples from the sick infants did not reveal any matches to the plant bacteria either, Abbott said.
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not shared any information linking plant and infant diseases directly in Michigan, but FDA officials said access to only two of the four infant samples poses a barrier to recovery Investigation figured , according to Reuters.
Regardless of any links, or lack thereof, between the bacteria at the facility and bacteria found in the infants, the facility has been closed since February, leaving many families struggling to obtain adequate supplies.
Pelosi did not specify who or what an “charge” regarding the formula deficiency might involve. In a press release published on Friday, she called the shortage “ruthless and tragic”.
“It is a matter of life and baby development to ensure that every precious baby has the nourishment it needs,” the press release said. “While it is important to ensure this problem never occurs again, babies are crying right now and babies are hungry – so we must take urgent action to protect their health and well-being.”
news week reached out to Pelosi for more information and comments.
https://www.newsweek.com/nancy-pelosi-opens-door-criminal-charges-over-baby-formula-shortage-1707575 Nancy Pelosi opens the door to criminal charges over lack of infant formula