Pelosi says 'indictment' might be needed over baby formula shortage

House speaker suggests criminal charges could come over the crisis

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Tuesday that criminal charges could be brought over the ongoing baby formula shortage in the U.S., saying that an "indictment" might be needed once investigations into what caused the crisis have concluded.

Nancy Pelosi

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (C) speaks during a news conference regarding the baby formula shortage, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 17, 2022.  (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Pelosi raised the possibility of prosecution during a press conference with fellow Democrats, after House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro vowed that her panel will investigate Abbott Nutrition, the company that issued product recalls and shut down a major manufacturing plant in February amid a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation for possible contamination.

DeLauro said that "people have to be accountable, whether it is at FDA, or whether it is at Abbott."

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Abbott voluntarily shuttered its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, following complaints that four babies who consumed products made at the facility became ill from bacterial infections. Two of the infants died.

Abbott Nutrition formula

An Abbott Healthcare Nutrition plant. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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ABT ABBOTT LABORATORIES 109.30 -0.92 -0.83%

The company recently acknowledged that its recall worsened the industry-wide formula shortage, but insists that "after a thorough review of all available data, there is no evidence to link our formulas to these infant illnesses."

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Pelosi said that the babies who died consumed formula "that was contaminated," calling it "sinful" and adding, "that's one thing they'll be looking at."

baby formula shortage

A woman shops for baby formula at Target in Annapolis, Maryland, on May 16, 2022, as a nationwide shortage of baby formula continues due to supply chain crunches tied to the coronavirus pandemic that have already strained the countrys formula stock, (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The speaker went on to point to the supply chain issues that have also contributed to shortages, before saying, "But when it comes to babies, it's the here and now and in this moment."

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She continued, "I think that when all of this is said and done – I'm not associating by colleagues with what I'm going to say right now – I'm just saying it myself: I think there might be a need for indictment."

When contacted for comment regarding Pelosi's remarks, Abbott referred FOX Business to an earlier statement, saying, "Abbott has been around for 130 years because we’re trusted to do the right thing. We will work hard to re-earn the trust moms, dads and caregivers have placed in our formulas for decades. It’s important to know that there is no conclusive evidence to link our formulas to the reported infant illnesses."

This story has been updated to add Abbott's response.