EWG statement on the FDA’s internal review of actions related to the infant formula crisis

WASHINGTON – The following is a statement from Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs, on the findings of an internal review requested by Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf of the agency’s actions responding to multiple reports of Cronobacter illness in infants, the Abbott infant formula manufacturing plant in Sturgis, Mich., and issues that led to a shortage of infant formula:

This internal evaluation treats the symptoms of the disease rather than offering a cure. Nothing in this evaluation addresses the fragmented leadership structure that led to critical communication failures, the failure to make prevention of foodborne illness the focus of the FDA’s food safety efforts, or the need to dramatically increase and properly train FDA inspectors.

What happened in Sturgis should have set off alarms within the FDA about its food safety mission. This evaluation suggests that the FDA has instead hit the snooze button.


The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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