Baby Formula Shortage Explained: What You Can Do video     – CNET

Baby Formula Shortage Explained: What You Can Do video – CNET

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Speaker 1: Parents are finding the shells for baby formula empty in grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies, and even their pediatrician’s office. Some drive for hours through cities and neighboring states searching for any available supply. Nationwide. 40% of baby formula is out of stock. A major decline in availability in comparison with the first half of 2021, the baby formula shortage in the United States is more than just an inconvenience. It’s a crisis caused by a factory shutdown, product recalls [00:00:30] and ongoing disruptions to the global supply chain due to the pandemic In February, the us food and drug administration shut down a major production facility in Sturgis, Michigan owned by Abbot nutrition, the largest infant formula manufacturer in the country. The FDA recalled three brands of powdered baby formulas made by the company due to potential bacterial infections, including salmonella [00:01:00] resulting in the deaths of two infants.

Speaker 1: The agency advised parents not to buy or use certain batches of Similac Elementum and Ella care, powdered infant formulas, all Abbot brands, Abbot nutrition’s product recalls and facilities shutdown prompted parents to stockpile formula just as inflation began to rise in 2020 during the early days of the pandemic parents also hoarded formula leading manufacturers to cut back on production in 2021 in [00:01:30] response to the current shortage retailers like Walgreen’s CBS and target have each implemented policies to limit purchases. Retailers implemented a similar policy in, in March, 2020 when hand sanitizer and toilet paper were running low purchase limits are also put in place to prevent price gouging, especially amid rising inflation. On May 17th, Abbot nutrition reached an agreement with the FDA to reopen the STS plant on the condition that a qualified expert be present to oversee improvements at the ST’s facility. [00:02:00] Production could resume in June with customer seeing more formula on store shelves in July or August until regular production resumes.

Speaker 1: Abbot nutrition will fly formula in from a plant in Ireland to supplement its us. Supply recalls are common practice in the production industry, but recalling a large swath of baby formula nationwide and shutting down a major us producer amid a global pandemic, created an imbalance of low supply and high demand without a surplus to supplement the loss [00:02:30] with more new mothers demanding baby formula in 2022 orders are surging faster than supply is recovering. The us normally produces 98% of the infant formula. It consumes Abbot, Mead Johnson, nutrition, Nestle USA, and Parago dominate the market. Meaning that if one of the four manufacturers slows or stops production, the supply chain is easily disrupted supply chains that were disrupted during the pandemic. Still face big challenges, including worker shortages, [00:03:00] shipping delays, and a lack of key components. Many are struggling to bounce back, given the production and distribution issues, leading to local short supplies of infant formula.

Speaker 1: The us food and drug administration has announced plans to increase the formula supply in the us, including loosening some importation restrictions on formula from other countries. The speed up the FDA safety evaluation process. The Biden administration also worked with the FDA to limit the size of formula containers to increase production volume nationwide on May 19th, [00:03:30] president Biden invoked the defense production act to increase baby formula manufacturing. The defense production act gives the president broad authority to make companies prioritize the manufacturer and distribution of goods in response to a crisis. If you’re running low on formula, here’s what pediatricians say to do and where to go. If you can’t find your baby’s specific formula, call your pediatrician to see if they have any in stock. Pediatricians often get samples of different formulas and may be able [00:04:00] to help out. Doctors also may have samples left over from formula representatives.

Speaker 1: Abbot nutrition said it’s working with healthcare professionals and state agencies to offer alternative formulas when possible, including working with WIC, the women infants and children’s program offers nutrition assistance, but has income requirements. Given the shortage WIC programs nationwide have been urged to loosen restrictions and help parents find alternative solutions. If you are a WIC member, contact your local office, try [00:04:30] and find formula in may. Congress passed the access to baby formula act, ensuring low income families can still access baby formula with WIC benefits during a public health emergency and product recall parenting groups on social media may also offer resources in your area. You may need another parent with extra formula or knowledge of retailers with formula and stock. The federal trade commission urges parents to be wary of scammers exploiting the baby formula shortage, tricking caregivers into paying high prices for formula that’s never delivered [00:05:00] credit cards often give you the strongest protections so you can sometimes get your money back if you ordered something, but it never arrived. Anyone who demands payment by gift card, money transfer or cryptocurrency is a scammer experts and medical professionals advise against making your own formula. Homemade formula can easily be contaminated with bacteria and is less nutritious than federally regulated formula a bill to provide $28 million in emergency funding to the FDA to resolve the formula shortage passed in the house, [00:05:30] but faces an uncertain future as it heads to the Senate, until then parents across the country continue to navigate a crisis that’s expected to last into the summer.

Sophia Fox-Sowell

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