Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on May 18, 2022 in Stuff You Should Know

Formula Shortage

A nationwide baby formula shortage has families of infants scrambling. They are searching for ways to feed their children. By late April 2022, six states had half their normal amount of baby formula on store shelves. Twenty other states are also having trouble meeting demand. The situation is especially challenging for babies that have special nutrition needs that require specialized formula. To stretch the current supply, retail stores are imposing limits on the number of canisters customers can buy. Manufacturers say they are producing as much as possible, but it’s likely that the shortage will continue for a while. 

Several factors caused the shortage. In February 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled three brands of powdered baby formula from Abbott Nutrition, a major formula producer. This was after a former Abbott employee revealed that some product from a Michigan plant could have been contaminated with bacteria, including Salmonella. The former employee said that four infants became ill after consuming the contaminated product, and two infants died. Abbott Nutrition has reached an agreement with the FDA to settle the Justice Department complaint against this Michigan plant. It will reopen, but it may take six to eight weeks for product from this plant to get to store shelves.  

There are also ongoing supply chain issues that make it harder for formula to make it to grocery store shelves. Also, there are only a few manufacturers of baby formula in the United States. Abbott Nutrition controls almost half of the market. To help ease the crisis, the White House has announced that it will loosen economic restrictions on formula imported from foreign suppliers.  

Dig Deeper How was the complaint against the Abbott plant in Michigan resolved? Conduct more information on the Internet to learn more about the details of the agreement.

Goodwill Treasure Hunting

Imagine going to a thrift store and purchasing an item, only to find out that it is a priceless ancient artifact. That happened to Laura Young of Austin, Texas. In 2018, she bought a stone bust at Goodwill for $34.99. (A bust is the term for a sculpture that displays the head and shoulders of a human figure.) She kept it in her living room for three and a half years. Young was an antiques dealer and she suspected that the bust could be valuable. She contacted two auction houses to investigate. They confirmed that her item was actually an ancient Roman bust over 2000 years old. The bust depicts either a son of Pompey the Great, or Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, a Roman commander. The bust is now at the San Antonio Museum of Art and will remain there until May 2023. 

How did an ancient Roman artifact wind up in a Texas Goodwill store? One theory is that an American soldier took the bust home as a souvenir during World War II.  Allied forces raided the German villa of Bavarian King Ludwig I (1786-1868) at this time.  

The Roman artifact will be returned to Germany next year. Young will receive a small compensation for recovering the object. She will also get a 3D-printed model of the bust. 

Young isn’t the first person to find treasure at a thrift store. Other discoveries include a sweater that belonged to legendary football coach Vince Lombardi (valued at $43,000); a 1774 Philadelphia newspaper (value undisclosed); and an abstract painting by Alexander Calder (valued at $9,000). 

What Do You Think? Have you or a family member ever found (or thought you found) a valuable item at thrift store or yard sale? What was it? Explain.

Jill Biden Visits Ukraine

On Mother’s Day–May 8, 2022, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine. She met with Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska. Dr. Biden spent a few hours in the southwest city of ten thousand people called Uzhhorod. Biden and Zelenska met in a school that has been converted into a refugee shelter. The two women discussed the war, but also their private and professional lives. Ms. Zelenska has been in hiding with her children since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in late February 2022. This was the first time since then that she had appeared publicly.  

Dr. Biden specifically chose Mother’s Day for the visit as a show of solidarity with Ukraine. An estimated 90 percent of the Ukrainians who have been displaced by the war are women and children. On the same day, Ukraine hosted a visit from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Bono of the band U2. Ukrainian officials hope to use these visits to increase international support.  

On her visit to Eastern Europe, Dr. Biden also made stops in Slovakia and Romania, meeting with humanitarian organization workers and refugees.  

Dig Deeper When was the last time a U.S. First Lady has traveled to a war zone alone? Who was it, and where did she go?