WPCNR WESTCHESTER CRITICAL. By John F. Bailey. May 18, 2022:
Last Sunday, as America became aware of the formula crisis when the Food & Drug Administration announced it to everyone’s surprise.
One, just one public leader in the entire state immediately suggested a way to do it, Paul Feiner, Town Supervisor of Greenburgh came up with an idea to “find that formula,” in a letter to the public, which WPCNR printed:
“Many parents with babies are stressed because they are having a difficult time getting the formula they need for their child. I would like to help. If you are having difficulty finding a formula your child needs please e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be asking student interns and volunteers to help you find the formula and will also connect you to resourrces that we become familiar. There are formula finder sites on social media. Will also reach out to medical professionals, other parents and find out if there are substitute formulas that your child can use.”
Two days since that letter appeared, I contacted Mr. Feiner this morning and asked him how the Formula Finding operation has started.
He issued this statement Wednesday morning to WPCNR:
“I have helped a few residents so far -100% success.
In each of the cases I have posted on social media requests for bottles/cans of formula and residents have donated unopened or unused formulas.
I thought more people would contact me. Have also been posting on the town website advisories on what parents can do if they need a formula.
Some student interns are working in my office – preparing a fact sheet –listing social media sites parents can access for help.
Also people can contact Amazon Canada and get formulas.
The students are going to interview doctors, nutritionists, host a cable TV show highlighting their findings. Working on this. Will share their fact sheet when it’s completed.”
For perspective, WPCNR has seen no news conferences on formula availability locally, no information from the state, the county, any Department of Health, doctors organizations, hospitals, or any other towns, pharmacies, food chains in the county, or local stores in either White Plains or any city for that matter, on the state of formula supply in the county.
Where is the urgent information on breast feeding how to get women who are delivering today can use their own breast milk to keep their babies alive, and prepare to do so?
Now I am not a doctor, or even pretend to make medical decisions, but the mothers scheduled to deliver babies in the next two months need to be briefed by their hospitals, delivering doctors and pediatricians (if not already which I automatically assume the moms-about-to-deliver have been briefed) on the need to be able to breast feed their babies for at least 2 months.
Or 3 months because the Food & Drug Administration has given Abbott, the manufacturer of formula 8 weeks to clean up their plant that they closed after the contamination was found.
Reuters Explainer reported Tuesday that once the FDA approves that “initial” requirements have been metanufacturing could begin in two weeks. Peter Pitts of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, a former FDA commissioner said after the 2-weeks to reopening, full plant capacity could happen in 4 to 6 weeks.
Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and former FDA associate commissioner, said Abbott should be able to meet its two weeks target for re-opening the facility, and expects it to be fully operational in another four-to-six weeks.
No explanation from the NY Times press report Tuesday on why Abbott Laboratories did not start cleaning out the Sturgis, Michigan plant when they closed it in February which manufactures Abbott baby formula, because cronobacter bacteria, from which 4 babies (according to Reuters Explainer yesterday) who had consumed Abbot formula sickened and two died.
Abbot Laboratories has denied that that the cronobacter bacteria was in the formulas the 4 babies consumed, Reuters Explainer chronicled the possible connection that started the recall of Abbott products Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered formulas. A specialty liquid formula called Similac PM 60/40 was added at the end of February. Of the four infants found sick, three had cronobacter sakazakii infections, and one Salmonella newport
Consumers reported four infants who were sick, including three with Cronobacter sakazakii infections and one with Salmonella newport, who had been fed formula products made at the Sturgis plant. A fourth infant with cronobacter sakazakii was later added.
Cronobacter sakazakii can cause life threatening sepsis infections or meningitis and may have contributed to the death of two of the infants, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said.
Abbott says there is no evidence to link its formulas to these illnesses.
The FDA and the CDC has not put out any information that connects the illnesses and the plant. FDA officials said that the investigation was impeded by having only two of the four sickened babies’ clinical samples.
The CDC analyzed clinical samples from two of the infants and did not find a genetic match to the environmental strains found at the plant. It also said the bacteria from the patient samples were not closely related to one another.
The FDA and Abbott tested environmental and product samples at the plant. They found five environmental samples containing Cronobacter sakazakii. The product samples tested negative.
At this writing there have not yet been reports of such infections or deaths of babies from the Cronobactor sakazakii from products shipped overseas