For Immediate Release
June 9, 2022
Smiley Statement On Latest Baby Formula Shortage Scandal Revelations
PASCO, WA – U.S. Senate candidate and mom Tiffany Smiley (R-WA) issued the following statement in response to the latest revelations that federal officials were warned about problems at Abbott’s formula facility as early as February 2021, a full year before a formula recall was issued.
Tiffany Smiley said: “Every day it becomes clear that Patty Murray is to blame for the baby formula shortage. Patty Murray chairs the Senate committee with oversight over both the FDA and OSHA, yet she did nothing. We thought her dereliction was for three months, but now we learn she ignored the coming crisis for more than a year. The health and welfare of innocent and vulnerable children is at stake. Do your job, Senator, or step aside immediately.”
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that in February 2021 a complaint was filed under the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s whistleblower-protection program by a former Abbott Laboratories employee alleging problems at its Sturgis, Michigan formula facility. This revelation shows that federal officials knew about the problems at the facility a full year before a formula recall was issued, yet nothing was done in response.
As Chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) has oversight over BOTH the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Labor Department. Yet between the initial allegation in February 2021 and February 2022, Senator Murray did absolutely nothing to address these problems. Only once a recall was issued, on February 24, 2022, did Murray send a letter to the FDA inquiring about the contamination issues; however, it wasn’t until May 2022 that Murray finally spoke out on the formula shortage crisis that was enveloping the nation.
Senator Murray failed Washington families for a full 15 months while they were being hit the hardest, As reported by Bloomberg, the baby formula crisis continued worsen, with the national out-of-stock rate climbing to 74%. However, one in five states saw out-of-stock rates exceeding 90% - including Washington.
As a leader in the United States Senate, it is Patty Murray’s job to be forward thinking and address the critical issues facing her constituents. Murray could have spoken out, held hearings, and held Labor and the FDA accountable – ensuring that the formula crisis was averted. Murray could have worked with formula manufacturers to ensure any void in formula supply was filled. But Patty Murray did nothing for more than a year.
Patty Murray failed Washington families, Washington moms, and Washington children when they needed her most.