Baby formula shortage in US worries parents
A major shortage of baby formula in the US is rendering parents desperate after a manufacturer's recall.
The US infant formula shortage is causing producers to scramble and parents to panic.
According to CNN and USA Today, 40% of infant formula was out of supply in more than 11,000 locations throughout the US during the week of April 24, compared to an out-of-stock proportion of 2 to 8% during the first half of 2021.
Numbers from the Datasembly website show that more than half of the available infant formula in supermarkets was sold out during the week of April 24 in six states: Texas, Tennessee, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Missouri.
In response to concerns about formula hoarding, some large shops, including Walgreens and CVS, have set limitations on how much formula parents may purchase at one time.
According to experts, the producer Abbott Nutrition's recall aggravated the already-strained infant formula supply. Abbott voluntarily recalled three of its products in February following complaints of sickness among newborns, including two deaths.
According to Brian Dittmeier of the National WIC Association, the Abbott recall impacted families who rely on public benefits such as WIC – a special supplemental food program for low-income women and children – because the manufacturer was the exclusive supplier for more than half of the agencies administering WIC.
Parents who are eager for a consistent supply of infant formula for their children are now finding problems procuring a single container.
Many parents rely on social media groups to keep up with product restocks and potential savings. The support groups have been especially beneficial to parents whose children require certain types of formulas owing to allergies or other medical difficulties.
Some parents have been coerced to drive to nearby states to find formula.
Ashley Hernandez, a mother of two, described the predicament to The Times as a "nightmare". She said she has been buying formula from eBay online.
As the scarcity worsens, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement indicating it was aware of supply concerns exacerbated by the Abbott recall, particularly when combined with shortages caused by the Covid-19 epidemic.
In a statement, the FDA said it is working with Abbott Nutrition to "assess the impacts of the recall and understand the production capacity at other Abbott facilities that produce some of the impacted brands."
Other infant formula manufacturers have stated that they are modifying their operations in response to the increased demand caused by the Abbott recall.
The maker of Enfamil newborn formula told USA Today that its plants are open 24 hours a day and that it supplied 30% more formula during the first quarter of the year.
However, as supply chain concerns deepen and shop shelves stay bare of formula, parents of infants are becoming increasingly concerned about how to feed their children.
Dittmeier, of the National WIC Association, told The Times that parents are hurt, angry, anxious, and afraid, adding that "the lives of their infants are on the line."