FDA launches probe into delays responding to baby formula crisis

Commissioner Robert Califf's announcement comes week after Just the News reported whistleblower alerted FDA to problems last fall but agency didn't act

Updated: May 16, 2022 - 2:57pm

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf announced Monday a full investigation into why his agency was slow to react to the baby formula crisis after a whistleblower first tipped off federal officials to problems last September.

“We always want to be as fast as we can possibly be while also being diligent, remembering, as shown by this example, that if we didn’t close the plant, then we have a supply shortage so we have to get this right,.” Califf said during an appearance on the NBC Today show.

“There will be a full investigation of the timeline, and we’ll do everything possible to correct any errors in timing that we had so that we don’t repeat any mistakes that may have been made,” he said,

The investigation comes 10 days after Just the News reported based on documents gathered by Rep, Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., that FDA was first alerted last fall to problems at a major baby formula factory in Michigan, did not interview the whistleblower until December, did not take action at the factory until February and did not make contingency plans for an expected shortage.

While the post mortem begins, Califf suggested Monday there could be good news in the next few weeks as the Abbott factory in Michigan is close to coming back on line in the next two weeks.

“That’s entirely within the realm of possibility and, in fact, I think quite likely,” he said.