U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has joined parents — queer and not — across the country who are feeling the effects of the shortage of baby formula.
“This is very personal for us,” Buttigieg said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “We’ve got two 9-month-old children — baby formula is a very big part of our lives.”
The shortage is related to supply chain disruptions from the pandemic, an issue that worsened the already low formula supply, according to The Washington Post. Then, there was a major recall in February.
It’s caused parents to scramble to find food for their infant children.
Buttigieg added that he and his husband, Chasten, have been looking online and looking through stores trying to find formula for their infants. They’ve even contacted family members where the shortage hasn’t been so drastic to try to find some.
“We’re all set, at least for now,” he said. “But I think about what that would be like, if you're a shift worker with two jobs, maybe you don't have a car, you literally don't have the time or the money to be going from store to store.”
In the interview, Buttigieg called out Abbott, a major formula manufacturer. The company recalled products made in a plant in Michigan after two infants died of a bacterial infection and four more became ill. The Food and Drug Administration then shut the plant down.
“We are here because a company was not able to guarantee that its plant was safe. And that plant has shut down,” he said. Buttigieg said the company “messed up.”
As The Washington Post reports, Abbott has said “there is no evidence to link our formulas to these infant illnesses.”
The FDA is now working with the Michigan plant to get it back up and running as the Biden administration says it works with formula manufacturers to increase the supply of formula, including relying on imports.
In the interview, Buttigieg said that the plant closing due to contamination was “the responsibility of the company.”
“The responsibility of the [government] regulator is to ensure, as they take steps to get it ready, that it will in fact be safe when it comes back online,” he explained.