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‘Stop this monopolization.’ Rep. Frank Pallone demands answers on formula shortage

A powerful congressman from New Jersey is demanding answers on the baby formula shortage.

News 12 Staff

May 26, 2022, 12:53 AM

Updated 783 days ago

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A powerful congressman from New Jersey is demanding answers on the baby formula shortage. Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone is criticizing formula companies and the Food and Drug Administration’s response to the crisis.
“They don’t feel any obligation to the public in a meaningful way,” Pallone says.
Pallone’s Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing as the shortage entered its second month. It comes as first lady Dr. Jill Biden greeted a fresh shipment of 114 pallets of baby formula that was flown into Washington D.C. from Germany.
Pallone handled the virtual hearing from his Long Branch office, and after more than five hours of testimony under oath, sat down exclusively with News 12 New Jersey to discuss the situation.
“I don’t know if there was criminal activity here or not. I mean, it’s possible that there is,” Pallone says.
The CEO of Abbott Nutrition said the formula plant in Michigan was shut down due to unsanitary conditions and contamination and that it will be back in business next week. The CEO apologized to the public.
Pallone says that it is Abbott’s fault that the formula was contaminated in the first place. But he also says that he is not happy with the FDA’s performance during the crisis.
The sad thing is we have this bureaucracy - in this case, the FDA - that is not performing the way they should,” Pallone says.
Pallone says the crisis reveals another problem - many businesses in America are controlled by just a handful of companies.
“I also think we have to do something to stop this monopolization. This isn't just happening with baby formula. It's happening with meat supply, it's happening with so many things,” Pallone says. “We also have my committee working on long-term solutions so it doesn't happen again.”
Pallone says this includes getting more formula out, letting people know where to get it and breaking the three companies’ stranglehold on the baby formula market.
Abbott's CEO said that before the plant shutdown, the company made 40% of the baby formula bought in the United States.


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