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Karine Jean-Pierre stunned by request for update on Biden’s response to baby food shortage

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The White House struggled again Monday to address questions about the baby food shortage as press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled with a simple request for the latest on the crisis.

“Let me see if I have anything new for you on that,” she said, flipping through her now-famous folder of prepared answers.

She tried to fill the time as her eyes scanned the pages quickly. “I think it’s been a few days since we got that question,” she said.

Then she admitted her defeat.

“I have nothing new,” she said during her daily briefing.

“I know we made some announcements last week. I just don’t have them in front of me.

“But if you want to come back and we’ll talk about the things we’ve been able to do in the past, which are the most recent activities we’ve done.”

The issue dominated successive White House briefings as the Biden administration was faced with questions about when it learned of the shortage and why it wasn’t better prepared to deal with empty shelves.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre grappled with a simple question about baby food during her daily briefing on Monday, saying: ‘I have nothing new’

The White House has repeatedly struggled to explain who knew what and when about the unfolding baby food shortage that left shelves empty

The White House has repeatedly struggled to explain who knew what and when about the unfolding baby food shortage that left shelves empty

Aid workers have declined to say exactly when Biden was notified of the crisis and who told him

Aid workers have declined to say exactly when Biden was notified of the crisis and who told him

The shortage hit when one of the country’s largest formula factories was shut down by regulators after four babies became ill after consuming the product.

On Monday, it turned out that factories of the three largest manufacturers have not been inspected at all in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the White House has repeatedly failed to answer questions about the crisis, especially when Biden was made aware of the crisis and who told him.

Two weeks ago, Jean-Pierre was peppered with the question of who knew what and when.

She was accused of evasion by reporters who demanded to know who was involved.

Instead, it was ‘senior staff’ who went through ‘regular channels’.

The Biden Administration has launched an audit into the FDA's actions over the February shutdown of Abbott Nutrition's baby food plant in Strugis, Michigan

The Biden Administration has launched an audit into the FDA’s actions over the February shutdown of Abbott Nutrition’s baby food plant in Strugis, Michigan

Biden administration forced to fly in baby food from other countries

Biden administration forced to fly in baby food from other countries

“The president deals with issues on a regular basis and it comes to him and it’s just that there isn’t a specific person I can call to you, but it’s the normal way we move forward through the mainstream channels,” she said.

“I don’t have a specific person, but that’s the way it goes with any subject, not just this one.

“It goes through regular channels and senior White House staff usually informs him about various things.”

Reporters accused her of being evasive and followed up with more questions.

NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell said: ‘It seems evasive that the top people in the White House don’t want to say that I had a conversation with the president about it’

‘We also all report on the consumer side, of what you do, release and try to get information.

“But we’re also trying to understand the flow of information in this White House and it’s important for us to get that answer, so we keep asking.”

The issue is part of a series of crises facing Biden and his administration that will leave him deep in the red ahead of crucial November midterm elections.

Investigations conducted at Abbott factory between January and March 2022 were done for 'cause' after a whistleblower ex-employee came forward

Investigations conducted at Abbott factory between January and March 2022 were done for ’cause’ after a whistleblower ex-employee came forward

U.S. regulators have inspected baby food factories at least once a year in the past, but they haven’t inspected any of the top three manufacturers in 2020, according to federal data reviewed by The Associated Press.

When they finally entered an Abbott Nutrition formula plant in Michigan after a two-year hiatus, they found bacterial contamination, standing water, and lax sanitation procedures.

But inspectors offered only voluntary suggestions for solving the problems and issued no formal warning.

The inspectors would return five months later after four babies who consumed powdered food from the plant contracted bacterial infections.

Earlier this week this was reported by the Washington Post that the FDA has been investigating Abbott since March 2021 in response to the deaths of the children.

Salmonella was listed as a possible cause of death in at least two of the infants. According to a statement from Abbott Nutrition, testing of their plant by both the company and the FDA revealed no evidence of salmonella.

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