The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a new baby formula warning, which threatens to strain already dwindling supplies, even more, leaving worried parents scrambling.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic had already caused supply issues. This warning and a probable recall further causes rising availability concerns, with parents across the country struggling to get their hands on baby formula, including brands such as Enfamil and Similac. It’s normal for parents to obviously panic when they can’t get their baby’s food, and switching brands isn’t always straightforward, especially when babies have sensitivities, allergies, or digestive issues and can only take specific types of formula.
Michelle Perruzzi, a 30-year-old courtroom monitor who records judicial proceedings and a mom of two from Fairfield County, Connecticut tells NBC News that she’s been driving daily for four months between 7 local stores to check the shelves for Alimentum formula for her 7-month-old, Alejandro.
In the mom’s words,
“It’s been really hard. Every time we went to look for it, the shelf was empty. If we were lucky, there were one or two cans on the shelf.”
It gets more worrying because the mom has since gone back to work and is unable to keep nursing her son, who has an allergy to some types of formula, further limiting their options.
She’s forced to call and text friends living out of town and ask in local parent Facebook groups.
And she’s not the only one; there are thousands of cases just like hers, where parents are willing to do just about anything to get their hands on baby formula.
- Pre-pandemic, baby formula out-of-stock levels hovered around 5%, according to IRI Worldwide, a market research firm. Anything above 10% is worrying.
- But in February, baby formula out-of-stock levels quickly rose to 25% in February, from 11% in December, according to an investigation by the consumer product data firm Datasembly prepared at the request of NBC News.
Formula manufacturers are actively liaising with distributors, retailers, suppliers, and state agencies to ensure accessibility and availability to infant formula products to address the needs of babies everywhere swiftly. And while formula makers are claiming that they’re delivering the product to retailers, they aren’t getting them to stores and shelves, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Retailers have further claimed that makers may be experiencing difficulty sourcing raw materials, and there are stockpiling reports. However, Enfamil and Similac account for approximately 60% of the shortfall, according to Datasembly.
The World Health Assembly says major infant formula and food companies are not complying with marketing guidelines set to encourage breastfeeding.
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