Baby Formula Shortage Wreaks Havoc in the US
Agricultural commodities aren’t the only victim of recent supply chain chaos – and geopolitical tension not the only perpetrator. The US is facing a nationwide baby formula shortage that has left families unable to feed their children: 43 percent of baby formula is out of stock nationwide. The shortage is a function both of general supply chain snarls and a large-scale recall. With baby formula already in low supply thanks to pandemic-induced disruptions, the FDA detected a potentially deadly germ on site (although not in the products of) an Abbott Laboratories factory in Sturgis, Michigan. Abbott, which produces about 40 percent of the country’s baby formula, issued a recall and stopped production. And while the plant could be up and running within two weeks, it will take some six to eight more for the resultant formula to appear in stores.
This is the stuff that revolutions are made of: The shortage, which is expected to last through the rest of the year, affects families’ fundamental survival. It disproportionately affects the lower income population. And Washington is far to the right of the problem. On the defensive, the FDA reports that it is working with major manufacturers to increase their production as well as to streamline imports of formula from elsewhere; a House committee has scheduled a hearing on the subject for May 25. Needless to say, those efforts are quite little quite late. This lackluster response underlines the reality that the US continues not to recognize quite how fragile supply chains are – or how critical it is to get ahead of them: When a key facility of a key producer shuts down after an FDA investigation, the government should recognize, and work to mitigate, consequences.
In Tungsten, a Promising Model for Public Private Partnership
Elsewhere, the market may be stepping up to resolve the omnipresent story of supply shortages – and dependencies. Take, for example, critical minerals and Tungsten in particular. Tungsten is considered a critical mineral by the US, EU, and UK. The metal is used in heavy industries like oil drilling and mining, as well as strategic sectors like electronics, defense, aeronautics, and automotives.