The baby formula shortage has parents across America in an endless search for supplies, with some stores completely sold out of leading brands.
The major reason there are so many shortages at stores around the country can be attributed to one company -Abbott- that had its largest manufacturing plant closed down due to contamination concerns in February.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jenn Psaki said the Food and Drug Administration was “working around the clock to address any possible shortages.”
On Tuesday, the FDA said it was working with U.S. manufacturers to increase their output and streamline paperwork to allow more imports.
Doctors warn against DIY formula recipes.
The pediatrician has issued an alert for parents who cannot find the formula. They advise against watering down any remaining milk and using DIY recipes, as these could be dangerous to your child’s health!
“For babies who are not being breastfed, this is the only thing they eat,” said Dr. Steven Abrams of the University of Texas, Austin. “So it has to have all of their nutrition and, furthermore, it needs to be properly prepared so that it’s safe for the smallest infants.”
Many Americans, rely on WIC — a federal program similar to food stamps that serve mothers and children — to afford formula for infants. Abbott’s recall wiped out many WIC-covered brands, though the program is now allowing substitutions.
What caused the shortage?
The entire U.S supply of baby formula is controlled by just a handful company, which makes it vulnerable to disruptions like factory fires or transportation issues that can cause shortages in the marketplace. The industry has experienced a shortage of key ingredients, labor, and transportation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and parents stockpiling during lockdowns which further squeezed supplies.
In February, Abbott withdrew several major brands and shut down its Sturgis factory after federal officials concluded that four babies had suffered bacterial infections due to consuming formula made at the facility. Two infant deaths were reported in connection with this event.”
What happens next?
It’s unclear when the Abbott plant might reopen.
The FDA said the company is still working “to rectify findings related to the processes, procedures, and conditions.” Other infant formula makers are “meeting or exceeding capacity levels to meet current demand,” the agency said.
Among other steps, the FDA said it was waiving enforcement of minor product labeling issues to increase the availability of both U.S. and imported products.