The formula shortage points to the urgency of addressing flawed and inequitable policy approaches to infant feeding in the US – a major public health issue, says Johns Hopkins School of Nursing associate professor, Cecília Tomori.

“When egregious safety violations were revealed at Abbott’s Sturgis plant, leading to temporary shutdown of production, it was disproportionately poor families and racialized minorities who paid the price for these policy failures.”

“Debates about the formula shortage tend to focus on individual responsibility for infant feeding, often in highly moralized terms. This distracts from corporate culpability, inadequate regulations and lack of investment in lactation that lead to health inequities. The solution to this crisis is to avoid falling prey to these narratives, and instead hold corporations accountable, enforce strict safety regulations, implement the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes and scale up structural support for lactation so that all families can thrive.”

Cecília Tomori is Associate Professor and Director of Global Public Health and Community Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing with a dual appointment at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Tomori’s work investigates the structural and sociocultural drivers that shape health, illness, and health inequities. She is an internationally recognized expert on breastfeeding, infant sleep, and maternal child health and the author of three books and numerous publications on these issues.