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Florida surgeon general sends letter to FDA asking for ‘transparency’ on infant formula shortage

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Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo on Thursday sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking for transparency on the national infant formula shortage.

“As you know, the FDA recently acknowledged the shortage, caused by its warning and recall,” Ladapo wrote to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, referring to the February recall of infant formula produced by Abbott Nutrition, which manufacture the majority of the preparations consumed in the United States

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and Governor Ron DeSantis during a press conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022.
((Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

He continued, “Time is running out to restart production at the Abbott plant, but the FDA has not produced the preliminary findings necessary to begin the reopening process and advise the country on this matter.”

The recalls were linked to the deaths of two babies who contracted bacterial infections after drinking Abbott formula.

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He said the Florida Department of Health has found alternatives in the state “in an effort to compensate for the shortage caused by the lack of oversight by the FDA, the cost of these alternatives remains high and the availability is low.” .

Ladapo continued, “As a father, physician and surgeon general for the State of Florida, I respectfully request open channels of communication for routine updates on when the supply chain is expected to be affected and the most viable route to resume sufficient supplies of national formula.”

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The White House said Thursday it had taken steps to address the shortage, “including working with other infant formula manufacturers to increase production, expediting the importation of infant formula from overseas and calling on online and in-store retailers to establish purchase limits to prevent the possibility of hoarding.”

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He said that as a result, more formula had been produced in the last month than the month before the recall.

A sign advising consumers of formula purchase limits hangs on the edge of an empty shelf for the product at a King Soopers grocery store, Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in southeast Denver. Across the country, parents are struggling to find in-stock formula in stores due to supply chain disruptions combined with a massive safety recall.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Biden administration also said Thursday it would take additional steps, including cutting red tape, asking state attorneys general to crack down on price gouging and increasing imports further.

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Abbott said Wednesday that its Sturgis, Michigan plant could reopen within the next two weeks, pending FDA approval. The company said it would take another six to eight weeks after the factory reopened for consumers to see the products on the shelves.

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