Joe Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Try to Fix the Baby Formula Shortage His Henchmen Created – Opinion

Joe Biden invoked Wednesday the Defense Production Act in an effort to relieve a nation-wide shortage of baby formula. According to the Defense Production Act suppliers must fulfil orders for baby formula producers before they fill those of customers. A second part of the order establishes a ridiculous program called “Operation Fly Formula,” which sounds like a 1970s sci-fi thriller movie title, that allows government agencies to apply to use commercial aircraft owned by the Department of Defense to pick up loads of formula and fly them to the US where something happens to get them on grocery shelves. The “presidential” order is available at

I’m sure this will be regurgitated in campaign ads this fall, and there will be the usual quisling chorus on the right singing, “we need to praise him when he does the right thing,” but this is just another ineffectual and meaningless act by an ineffectual and meaningless president.

It is important to ask the following questions: 1) How did it happen? b) What, if any impact will this order have upon the situation?

In February of this year, the Food and Drug Administration looked into a very serious bacteria infection found in four babies who had eaten baby formula manufactured by Abbott Laboratories in Michigan. FDA shut down the factory after it was found to be contaminated. Abbott Laboratories ordered that all formula produced in the plant be recalled. There are two important pieces of information to keep in mind here: “four cases,” and the bacteria from those cases do not match the bacteria in the Michigan plant.

  • The two samples of genetic sequencing from sick infants were not compatible with the strains. Cronobacter in our plant. Samples from ill infants did not match each other, meaning there was no connection between the two cases.
  • In all four cases, the state, FDA, and/or CDC tested samples of the Abbott formula that was used by the child. In all four cases, all unopened containers tested negative.
  • Open containers from the homes of the infants were also tested in three of the four cases; two of the three tested negative. The one positive was from an open container from the home of the infant, and it tested positive for two different strains of Cronobacter sakazakii, one of which matched the strain that caused the infant’s infection, and the other matched a strain found on a bottle of distilled water in the home used to mix the formula. Again, neither strain matched strains foundIn our laboratory.
  • Our formula was made in four varieties over the span of almost a year. The illnesses occurred over several months and were spread to three states.

The FDA cannot refute any of these claims. Based on the information available, FDA must fire someone. This kind of science-and-logic-free decision-making gave us the COVID shutdown and stay-at-home orders. The process will continue to grow until people involved in the decision-making feel pain or humiliation.

After keeping the facility closed for more than Putin’s time in Ukraine, FDA allowed the plant to be reopened on Monday. Near the end of June, the FDA will approve the facility for the production of its first product.

Baby formula shortages were caused by an FDA bureaucrat who wanted to be boss. The shuttering of a manufacturing facility was the result. This plant’s product was taken off the market. The cause is not some mysterious “supply chain disruption,” the problem is an overly powerful federal agency acting without a whit of evidence. No amount of bumf from Joey SoftServe’s office will produce a single molecule of baby formula because the problem is not a lack of ingredients for the manufacturers; the problem is the lack of inventory and production capacity.

As to the use of “commercial” aircraft owned by DoD, as best I can determine, there are about 50 of those. It would be useful to know the number of commercial aircraft owned by DoD. These are the Boeing 737 military versions. I gotta tell you, those aircraft aren’t going to move enough baby formula to justify the expense.

Bottom line: This order doesn’t do anything other than to allow the White House claim that it accomplished something.

Wall Street reports that the manufacturer and government created this level of vulnerability. I am grateful for the information.

About 95% of U.S. formula is made domestically, and Abbott was responsible for 42% last year. There are only four major manufacturers of formula in the U.S. today: Mead Johnson, Abbott, Nestle, and Perrigo. Import tariffs that can reach 17.5% are one reason why the formula market is so concentrated. These protect American producers from foreign competitors. Imports can also be limited due to non-trade restrictions like FDA labeling requirements and ingredient requirements.

Just a note on this article, it blames Trump for “imposing quotas and tariffs on Canadian imports in the USMCA trade deal.” This issue was never about restricting Canadian imports; it was about making Canada remove its tariffs and open its markets to US dairy products. This is one of those “wet streets cause rain” stories Michael Crichton warned about.

The left is busily blaming a monopoly or cartel of baby formula manufacturers, but the government’s distortion of the markets has created a more significant problem.

Additional competition can be limited by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, Children (WIC), for low-income moms. By the Department of Agriculture’s estimate, WIC accounted for between 57% and 68% of all infant formula sold in the U.S. Each state issues a contract for a specific formula to the manufacturer under its welfare program.

The rebates offered by companies to states on formulas that women can purchase are a way for them to compete for contracts. According to USDA research, rebates amount to about 85% of wholesale costs. WIC vouchers can be used by women only to buy formula from the winner manufacturer. These rebates reduce state spending, but there’s no such thing as free baby formula.

Manufacturers would give huge discounts to states for no reason. They effectively have a state monopoly. WIC brands are given more shelf space by stores. WIC brands may also find it easier to be recommended by physicians. After 30 states switched their WIC contracts between 2005 and 2008, the new provider’s market share increased on average by 84 percentage points.

This outcome is predictable and obvious. WIC customers can only purchase Brand A. This will mean that grocery stores stock more because many parents will be buying it. Also, it will simplify their order and warehousing process if they carry only one brand.

Rahm Emanuel is famous for saying, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” It doesn’t always mean what we would hope. We should have seen the dangers in consolidating the means to produce a critical foodtuff such as baby formula. It is only a few companies that have very limited manufacturing facilities. It is a serious problem when a factory closes and creates a national shortage. We should have looked at tariffs which exclude foreign formula from our country during this crisis. This crisis should have prompted us to examine how WIC regulations created monopolies that strengthen the power of large producers. This is unlikely to be the case. The only possible crisis this could have solved is that of Joe Biden’s septic tank-level job approval rating. By waiting months to make this crisis worth his time or effort to address, he’s managed to waste it.


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