Thursday, May 12, 2022

Fact Check: The Truth About Baby Formula [UPDATED]

There's a lot of news about the baby formula shortage, but very little information as to "why".  I think I know why, and if I'm right, it's also why you're not hearing about it.

I have no special insight into the baby formula industry, but I've seen this movie before.  This exact movie.  

You see, in 2014 I wrote a piece tying together several seemingly unrelated odd events at notable companies:  There was a SWAT style raid at a guitar factory, a large OTC painkiller plant was raided and shuttered, a fully built airplane factory was not allowed to open, and the U.S. government blocked the world's largest car manufacturer from selling certain models.  

I traced all those cases to labor unions, or rather the conspicuous lack thereof.

It looked to me like Barack Obama was weaponizing the U.S. government to advance his pro-union agenda.  These companies were standing in his way, if not literally, symbolically.

I believe this is why moms can't feed their babies.  It has nothing to do with supply chains, covid, Ukraine, etc.  It's all about punishing a company that prefers to work directly with its employees rather than through an adversarial third party.

For background, here's an excerpt from my 2014 piece:

Labor unions are Obama’s largest support system.  Unions supplied billions in the last three election cycles, practically all of it to Democrats.  More importantly, unions supplied the boots-on-the-ground and the muscle for Obama’s vaunted ground-game. The labor union agenda is Obama’s agenda according to Obama himself. The most frequent visitors to the oval office are labor union bosses and labor union lobbyists...  

These corporate/union bullying cases are similar to the IRS scandal in that government agencies were selectively targeting opponents of Obama’s political agenda.  But, there are significant differences too.  The IRS scandals broke because the targeted parties, non-profits and individuals, made a big stink.  In these corporate cases, the targets are for-profit corporations who will never make a stink.  Unlike individuals and non-profit groups, corporations have a huge incentive to keep quiet when being targeted by their government.  Corporations answer to their shareholders, and shareholders care about one thing only - share value.  Confronting abusive government is never a shareholder priority.  Corporations are also easily painted as villains.  When corporations get unjustly targeted by governments, they usually suck it up, pay the fines, settle the lawsuits, and quietly get back to work. 

Now back to the baby formula case today:

About 3 months ago, the U.S. FDA shuttered the largest baby formula plant in the country, an Abbott Labs plant in Sturgis, MI.  The reasons for the plant closure was that there was a whistleblower who alleged sloppy hygiene at the plant, and subsequently there were a pair of fatalities from bacterial contamination allegedly tied to the plant. 

Scary stuff indeed!  But further investigation revealed no such contaminants in samples of formula at the plant.  And none were found in any of the formula recalled from store shelves.  In fact, The FDA did not find any bacteria that were an exact match anywhere at the site.  If those children were killed by bacteria, there is no evidence whatsoever tying it to Abbott Labs.

Yet, the plant remains closed as of today.     

All of this seemed familiar to me.  In fact, not just familiar, but exactly like what had happened with Johnson & Johnson's Tylenol plants.

Again, I'll direct you to the piece I wrote in 2014 which has all the details, but here's a brief summary:

  • 1980s - 7 people die from cyanide tainted Tylenol.  
  • All products are recalled, the plant is shut, and J&J has a devastating PR nightmare on its hands.
  • None of the recalled product is contaminated, and no cyanide is ever found at the plant.
  • The case remains unsolved, but the contamination was traced to the Tylenol distribution network around Chicage, IL.
  • At the time The Teamsters ran all distribution for Tylenol in Chicago, while J&J was known to prefer non-union employees. 
  • After the deaths, J&J took all distribution in-house and away from the Teamsters.
Fast forward to 2011:
  • The U.S. govt, under Barack Obama, raids 3 J&J/McNeil/Tylenol plants, shuts one down, and forces several recalls claiming faulty products, bad hygiene, bacteria, odors, etc.
  • No one has been sickened, injured, or killed by any of these allegedly faulty products.  
  • J&J loses billions, gets heavily fined, undergoes a management shakeup, and the nation goes through a protracted shortage of brand name Tylenol.  
This is a mirror image of the events that have led to the baby formula shortage today.  And just like J&J, Abbott Labs is considered one of the country's best employers.  This usually means a preference for treating employees as individuals, which is anathema to unions.  

Please read the full story from 2014.  This all has the unmistakable odor of an Obama/Democrat/Union operation. 

(You might be saying, "Hey Undiepundit, are you implying that unions killed two babies to hurt Abbott Labs?"  No, I would never say that without verification.  In fact I tried very hard to get a statement from union headquarters, but unfortunately Jimmy Hoffa has yet to return my call.)

As if the union hit wasn't enough, Democrats also hate Abbott Labs for their deal with Donald Trump.  Recall that Abbott Labs was featured at a White House press conference in the middle of the pandemic where the President unveiled Abbott's new rapid test machine.  He then went ahead and contracted with Abbott for $750,000,000 worth of the machines which rocketed Abbott's stock.  

        (Notice how ABC mistakes Trump's FDA commissioner for his Treasury Secy.  LOL) 

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