Had U.S. baby formula producers not been protected from foreign competition, there would have been many more options available to parents when one lab became contaminated. And a 70-year-old wartime act would have remained a trivia question.
The world is an economics classroom if we allow ourselves to learn from it. Every day we’re bombarded with puzzles that the economic way of thinking can help solve. One of the more recent examples of this is the infant-formula shortage that plagued an industry already confounded by pandemic-related supply chain issues. An investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Abbott Laboratories discovered traces of a carcinogen in the powdered baby formula produced in Abbott’s Sturgis, Michigan plant. This led the FDA to recall several brands of powdered formula, including Similac, Alimentum, and Elecare, all of which rely on the formula produced in that same plant.