— Press Release

NEW: Stacey Abrams And Georgia Legislative Leaders Call for Inspector General Investigation of Kemp’s Destruction of Baby Formula

Complaint calls for Inspector General to look into wasteful policy that resulted in the destruction of over 16,000 containers of baby formula during national shortage

ATLANTA – Today, Democratic nominee for Governor Stacey Abrams alongside legislative leaders in the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate filed a complaint with the Office of the Inspector General of Georgia calling for an investigation into the Kemp administration’s wasteful policy of destroying baby formula in the midst of a national shortage.
 
The complaint is co-signed by Senate Minority Leader Senator Gloria Butler, House Minority Leader Representative James Beverly, and co-chair of the Women’s Legislative Caucus Senator Sally Harrell. It notes that, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, from October 2021 to May 2022, Georgia destroyed 16,459 containers of returned formula, which included 11,724 containers of powdered formula, 3,000 containers of ready-to-use formula, and 1,735 containers of concentrate. The Kemp administration continued destroying formula even as states across the nation with both Republican and Democratic administrations abandoned the policy.

The complaint calls for the Office of Inspector General of Georgia to launch an investigation into:

  1. The discrepancy in reliance on non-binding guidance that led the Kemp administration to make such a significant wasteful error where other states avoided such a grievous decision, 
  2. Whether further clarification or advisory input from the USDA was pursued by the Kemp administration given the high percentage of Georgia families reliant on WIC and other programs in the state, and 
  3. Why the Kemp administration delayed action by more than 60 days to remedy the policy to waste infant formula in the face of clear and urgent need. 

Stacey Abrams will also be going live on Facebook tonight at 8pm with a pediatrician and a mother to discuss the impact this formula shortage and the Kemp administration’s reckless policies have had on Georgia parents.

Read the full complaint below:

RE: Request for Investigation Related to Kemp Administration Destruction and Waste of Baby Formula

Dear Inspector General McAfee:

In May 2022, in the midst of the nationwide infant formula shortage, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that under the directive of Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia employed a policy that discarded thousands of bottles of baby formula each year, including during the reported shortage. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, from October 2021 to May 2022, Georgia destroyed 16,459 containers of returned formula, which included 11,724 containers of powdered formula, 3,000 containers of ready-to-use formula, and 1,735 containers of concentrate. The decision to waste infant formula had a deleterious effect on babies and families across the state of Georgia.

This gubernatorial policy, which relied on non-binding guidance from the USDA, impacted the ability of the state to meet its obligation with regard to the distribution of infant formula required by law. The leadership of multiple states rejected the advisory, including the states of Michigan and Texas. Furthermore, the investigative article referenced above reported that the policy administered under Gov. Kemp likely exacerbated the crisis. In June 2022, Georgia ranked nationally as the state most affected by the infant formula shortage, with out-of-stock rates at 94% compared to national average rate of 74%. 

While the panic has receded from the headlines, the consequences of this policy continue to impact Georgia parents and children. Therefore, the wasteful actions of the Kemp administration warrant further illumination. We are also troubled by the failure of the Kemp administration to adequately account for its decision and continued destruction of formula when the shortage had received national attention and led to the hospitalization of infants due to lack of access. 

We, the undersigned, therefore, request that your office investigate the following:

  1. The discrepancy in reliance on non-binding guidance that led the Kemp administration to make such a significant wasteful error where other states avoided such a grievous decision, 
  2. Whether further clarification or advisory input from the USDA was pursued by the Kemp administration given the high percentage of families reliant on WIC and other programs in the state, and 
  3. Why the Kemp administration delayed action by more than 60 days to remedy the policy to waste infant formula in the face of clear and urgent need. 

This investigation would be an appropriate follow-up given the executive branch commitment to addressing and resolving the infant formula crisis and establishing protocols to prevent the danger such unchecked actions have posed to the children of Georgia. 

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