By Attorney General Jeff Landry
Sky and Storm were born four weeks early. The twins arrived weighing 5 pounds, 3 ounces and spent their first two weeks in the NICU. Unfortunately, due to the infant formula crisis, their mother had to choose which of her premature babies received formula while the other suffered. What a terrible position this Sorento family found themselves in!
What’s worse: they were not alone. The stories in Louisiana have been heartbreaking. One mom could not find the rare product required for her baby’s specific dietary needs, while some mothers were forced to rely on members of their community to scour grocery store aisles and digital marketplaces.
Despite record-high fuel prices, parents drove hours away from home to source formula or pay price gougers hundreds of dollars for a few cans that lasted only a week or two. And no one has been hit harder than our neighbors who rely on WIC to feed their children.
Half of all infant formula in our country is purchased through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children – making the federal government the largest purchaser of infant formula. States are contracted with a single manufacturer, out of a mere handful to choose from, gaining rebates that equate to roughly 85% of wholesale cost.
In 2019, over 50% of all babies born in Louisiana received WIC benefits – forcing the majority of infants in our State to be dependent on Abbott Nutrition (via the federal government) producing safe baby formula for their dietary needs. Earlier this year, Abbott’s factory in Michigan was shut down for weeks due to bacterial contamination. Baton Rouge and New Orleans – which account for 57% of infant formula consumers in our State – are still experiencing 25-28% out-of-stock rates.
Science has shown that infants who do not get proper nutrition during those early months are at risk for lifelong impairment and intellectual disability. Nutritional deficits have a direct proven impact on IQ scores – one standard deviation per nutritional neglect. Furthermore, watering down the formula to stretch supply can result in lifelong neurological problems and failure to thrive.
This horrific situation that too many Louisiana families have faced are the result of failed government policies, and the buck stops with the President whose FDA has made a bad situation far worse.
If Joe Biden’s bureaucrats and his legacy media allies were honest, you would think the Biden Administration prioritized American citizens as Operation Fly Formula brought in baby formula from the European Union and Australia. But, like far too many things coming from the White House, that was not the case.
Instead of the necessary supplies going to our desperate neighbors – those pallets of baby formula were sent directly to the Southern border in an effort to feed, clothe, shelter, and provide medication to migrants pouring into our country illegally.
Bowing to the ultimate woke altar, Biden has put parents and newborns across Louisiana in distress. Instead of providing baby formula to law-abiding citizens along I-10, Biden delivered to illegals who crossed the Rio Grande. Rather than stocking up pantries in the ArkLaMiss, Biden amassed rations for border crossers in Del Rio. Do our low-income, minority, or rural families not matter to the President?
The truth remains that in order to give to someone, it requires taking from someone else. In this case, the federal government is taking brain power away from American children to feed thousands of illegal migrants flooding our border. This was never a global shortage; it was an American one, and now Americans are being forced to pay the price. As if the record inflation, crime surge, and COVID mismanagement were not enough, Biden’s failed policies have led to this latest dangerous predicament. The baby formula shortage is yet another stark reminder that you get the government you vote for.