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Where’s Biden’s plan to fix baby formula shortages NOW?

We all knew there would be major consequences to shutting down America’s economy during the COVID pandemic, and now baby formula shortages have become one of those unintended results. So, with panicked parents searching for certain formulas throughout the U.S., why does it seem there’s a lack of urgency from the Biden administration to help fix the problem? Bethany Mandel, Contributing Writer for Deseret News, joins Glenn to explain how this shortage began, why it’s taking so long to fix, and why parents should NOT resort to making their own formula…

Transcript

Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors

GLENN: Bethany Mandel. She's a contributing writing for the Deseret News. Editor of Heroes of Liberty book series, and the latest target. Last night of a man once known as Keith Olbermann.

I -- I mean -- that's still his name. But most people don't know his name anymore. We'll get into that here in a second. Bethany, welcome.

BETHANY: Thank you so much for having me.

GLENN: You bet. You bet. So we were talking about this yesterday in a meeting. And I don't understand it. The baby formula shortage. I don't know why nobody is doing anything, about it. And I don't -- I really -- this bothers me. That we're living in a country, that is now just expected to -- you know, get over it. You know -- and that's not America.

BETHANY: Oh, no, it's not.

GLENN: So what's happening with this?

Take us to the problem, to the possible solutions.

BETHANY: Sure. I mean, everyone is having supply chain issues across-the-board. Everything from lumber to, you know, the car chips.

GLENN: Yeah.

BETHANY: So it comes out, that there are consequences to shutting town your economy.

GLENN: No.

BETHANY: Shocking. Shocking, probably to all your listeners. But there are unintended consequences to such an action. And this is one of those unintended consequences. Almost 50 percent of the baby formula that is in America within used, is made in China. And Shanghai is locked down. And you can't get things on and off boats this to China. So there's a lot of that going on. There's a lot of staffing issues across-the-board. That are leading to -- you know, to drugstores and all these department stores having a hard time getting these things on the shelves. But the sort of major precipitating factor, is a massive recall at one of the biggest formula companies, called Abbott. And they found that there was a bacteria that made its way into the formula cans, that was extremely dangerous. Two babies died.

So it wasn't a super, duper overreaction on their part. But they decided to, in my personal opinion, do a recall that was maybe a little bit too broad. And they pulled a lot of formula off the shelves.

And there was no real plan for what -- how do we replace it, in the marketplace?

And so there's also not really been a plan to test the formula that they pulled off the shelves, to see if it was, in fact, safe.

GLENN: And it wasn't -- hang on just a second.

It wasn't that they just pulled this all off. They also shut the factory down. And the factory is still not operating.

BETHANY: Yes. Yes. Because they had to clean it. There was a section so severe, that it killed two babies, and hospitalized maybe six. So it was -- it was a really scary thing. And parents have Antonio that what they're feeding their baby is safe. This is the lack of urgency on what we see in the government. In so many ways, that we've really gotten a window into the last two years. A total lack of urgency, to treat this as -- as an emergency. One of my sort of favorite stories about this is, during covid, we learned that the vaccine was somewhat dangerous, to teenage boys. That it was causing heart issues. And the FDA scheduled meetings, three weeks away on Juneteenth. And then when Juneteenth became a national holiday. They were like, you know, we're going to honor that holiday. We'll just push back another few weeks. And so we were administering a vaccine to teenage boys that was potentially life-threatening to their hearts, and the vaccine pushed it off, for five weeks. And that sort of lack of urgency and government bureaucracy that we saw with hearts of teenage boys, we're seeing the same thing with formula right now.

GLENN: So, you know, what's crazy. This is why, you know, a centralized planning never works. It just never works.

BETHANY: Yep.

GLENN: Because the people in charge of all of it, that have to give the go aheads and everything else. They're government workers. And not necessarily the fastest or understand the concerns down -- down the line.

BETHANY: Let's be honest. We're the most competent, let's be honest.

Sat in the DMV before. And those are the people, right now, who are sitting on the manufacturers. Just like an inability to get food out.

GLENN: So what is the company waiting for, from the government?

BETHANY: I mean, they have to get the okay, that everything is safe, and that everything is sanitary. And that they can release everything that they've pulled off the shelves.

GLENN: So have they -- so they have completed. The company has completed everything, it was supposed to? We're just waiting for inspectors?

BETHANY: Basically, yes.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh.

BETHANY: So, I mean, they are ramping up. The issue is -- they are ramping up production. But they're afraid to sort of pour more money into it. Because then it will increase the cost of formula, which has already gone up significantly with inflation. So this is something the Biden administration can do. They can say, we will pay the difference. We will get more people in, so you're running 24/7. And we will foot the bill.

We just -- we need a formula -- affordable formula produced right now, today. And we will do whatever it takes to make that happen. Because this is the priority, and babies are -- our most precious natural resource. And you're not hearing that from the Biden administration.

GLENN: And you would be -- I'm quite surprised because that sounds like a public/private partnership. And they love those.

BETHANY: Yes. Yes.

GLENN: Okay. So what is it that parents can do? Because I'm seeing all these warnings. No. Don't do anything.

I'm not going to let my baby starve. And I'm pretty sure. You know, I was probably getting a little whisky in my nipple, when I was growing up with the bottle.

You know, they had to have done --

BETHANY: That explains a lot.

GLENN: It does explain a lot. But there had to be feeding our things, back in the day, before formula, that we can do again. Not for every child. The special needs children. But for the regular baby?

BETHANY: So I'm going to push back a little bit with you on that. So most regular babies, that don't have special needs, there's enough switching that you can do, that you can find an alternative. It's like the CDF brand, isn't in stock. You can get the Target brand. There's their wiggle room.

GLENN: Okay. So it's not a shortage -- oh, it's not a shortage for average babies as well.

BETHANY: So it is. But not nearly to the extent that it is for babies who are on special formula. The special formula shortage is particularly acute, and those are the majority of the parents that I'm hearing really panic. The parents, with the average baby, no health needs, just can take formula. They can -- they can go to different stores and usually find something in stock. Not saying that that's right. And that whatever.

GLENN: Yeah. But it's not a panic situation.

BETHANY: Right. Right. And I think that that's -- if I were that parent, that is what I would do. The formulation of formula, is really specific. And there are a lot of different minerals and nutrients that are in there. That you can't do at home.

Or you might not get precise. I spoke to a pedestrian transition in Texas. It is Whitney Morgan. And she told me, I see babies come into my office. And I see babies die, when I was working in a hospital. Their parents tried to stretch a formula can, and put more water in. And it messes up their electrolytes very quickly. And continuing lead to hospitalization and death. More easily than I think any people -- anyone wants to consider.

But also, one of the sort of scary things. You know, all of these recipes. And I sent her one of these recipes. And I said, what do you think about this?

Sort of break down the recipe. And she said, it is lacking in a couple of nutrients, that, you know, in the short-term will absolutely keep the baby alive. But in five months, we're going to notice some cognitive issues, that are now permanently in place, because the baby was not getting the brain food that they needed, basically.

So, you know, a lot of -- a lot of people, you know, grew up on this homemade formula. But a lot of people didn't grow up.

There is -- there's a lot of room for error. And we saw that room for error. What happened in the Abbott Formula Company. That they were -- they had the best safety policies in the world, and two babies died of the bacterial infection.

So I would really, really caution parents. Again, DIYing formula. Because it can go really wrong, really fast. And I think it's more dangerous than the shortage.

GLENN: Well, that's not the answer I wanted.

BETHANY: Sorry.

GLENN: But I'm glad that you told me the truth.

I mean, we don't understand, how blessed we have been. As we're losing things. Nobody thinks of baby formula as -- you know, this is -- this is -- if this would become acute, for a long period of time, it would change our society. A lot of babies would die. Or, I mean, it's -- you don't even think of that. Because we're so used to having that.

BETHANY: Absolutely. One of the first things -- I have five kids. And I mostly -- I also understand that life happens. And one of the first things I did, when covid started. Was buy a couple of cans of formula, just in case. We saw things flying off the shelves.

And I was like, you know what, you can have a couple cans. I'm breast-feeding my baby right now. But life happens. Things can change. And this is one thing, that I'm scared of -- I'm scared of flying off the shelves.

GLENN: Uh-huh. Okay.

Let me switch topics. You were -- can you give me the tweet here, Stu, from Keith Olbermann. I don't know -- I guess he's just sad in his nursing home tweeting things out. But he came after you yesterday.

BETHANY: Yeah. Mother's Day actually.

STU: Mother's Day.

GLENN: Oh, Mother's Day. Yeah, that's good. Perfect.

STU: After Bethany had responded to a Steve Schmidt Tweet, Keith Olbermann said, I imagine putting homeschool mom in your bio, and not understanding you just ruined the lives of five innocent children.

(laughter)

This guy is the worst.

GLENN: That's incredible.

BETHANY: Yeah. I mean, he's like a really bad human being, honestly. We have this sort of saying in Yiddish, like neva, like this, oh, poor soul. That's honestly how I feel about him. I don't know if you remember, he went after Mitt Romney, at Christmastime last year. Romney posted a picture of his beautiful, enormous family, that's perfect in every way. And he tweeted something like, this is my worst nightmare, or something. That really says a lot about you.

GLENN: That's sad. That's really sad. And anybody who can't see that homeschooling -- I mean, just what we've learned about the teacher's unions and CRT and SEL, all of these things. How do you not see, that putting your kids in the wrong school, is much, much worse. Much worse.

BETHANY: Yes. Yeah. I worked at Montgomery, Maryland. And the test scores that had been released over what happened in the last two years. Are mind-blowing.

GLENN: Oh, I know.

BETHANY: The abilities of children in middle school to do math, went from like, they were testing at like, 60, 70 percent. To about 5 percent. On -- on level.

And that's across-the-board.

GLENN: I know. I will tell you, I'm having a hard time with my kids in high school.

Because they're just -- they just -- it's like they just lost -- I don't know. Well, they did. Lost two years.

And it -- they're just -- just struggling so hard to get anything back.

We've just destroyed a generation.

BETHANY: We absolutely have.

GLENN: Thank you so much. I appreciate it, Bethany. God bless.

BETHANY: Yeah. Thank you so much, Glenn.

GLENN: You bet. You can find her at her website, heroesofliberty.com. Heroesofliberty.com. Or follow her @BethanyShondark. Bethany Shondark.

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Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:

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