Over the last few years, many of the normal activities in the United States were put on hold due to fears about spreading illnesses. People found themselves working with skeleton crews, moving to remote work and handling reviews and inspections from afar.
U.S. regulators typically inspect baby formula plants annually, but with everything going on, many manufacturers had not had a solid inspection since 2020. When they started to go back to work, they discovered that Abbott Nutrition’s formula plant in Michigan wasn’t up to the standard expected. There was standing water, which can be a breeding ground for disease, and the sanitation procedures weren’t as good as they should have been.
Inspectors took action, right? Well, not exactly. They made suggestions to help the company fix the issues, but there wasn’t any kind of formal warning for the location being in disrepair.
It was only around five months later when infants started getting bacterial infections later linked to contamination within the factory.
Is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at fault?
Of course, it is up to manufacturing facilities to stay within the federal safety and sanitation guidelines, with or without an inspection. However, the FDA should have had safety inspectors at the facility annually even with everything else happening in the country. Routine inspections did not happen, and three major companies, Abbott, Gerber and Reckitt, went as long as 2.5 years between reviews.
While there is no guarantee that extra inspections would have prevented the formula crisis, it is certainly one possibility. Those inspections could have, potentially, prevented some of the illnesses, injuries and deaths that occurred.
You have rights if your child was injured due to bad formula
As a parent, you expect that baby food and formula is going to be made to the highest standard. There is no acceptable reason for it to have bad bacteria or contents that make your child sick.
If your child was injured because of bad baby formula, you may be able to make a claim. The investigations into these products are ongoing, but you can start putting together your case now.