Jun 2, 2022 - Economy

HHS to investigate FDA's handling of baby formula recall

 A sign on an empty shelf informs customers that there is no stock in the back for infant formula

Photo: Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it will investigate whether the Food and Drug Administration appropriately handled a baby formula recall at an Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan.

Why it matters: The ongoing baby formula shortage began after a massive baby formula recall at the Abbott facility exacerbated preexisting pandemic supply chain issues.

What they're saying: "We will determine whether FDA followed the inspections and recall process for infant formula in accordance with Federal requirements," HHS' Office of the Inspector General said in a statement.

  • The investigation will specifically look at whether the FDA's actions preceding the February recall at the Abbott facility followed the correct policies and procedures when conducting inspections at the facility and overseeing Abbott's initiation of the recall.

Catch up quick: Abbottone of the largest suppliers of baby formula in the country — recalled several major brands of its formula back in February after federal officials investigated four babies who suffered bacterial infections from baby formula made at Abbott's factory in Sturgis, writes Axios' Herb Scribner.

  • In mid-May, Abbott struck a deal with the FDA to reopen its facility and noted that an investigation involving the FDA, Abbott and the CDC found "no conclusive evidence to link Abbott's formulas to these infant illnesses."

Go deeper: Why is there a baby formula crisis and what can be done about it

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