Lack of Baby Formula hurts families, restricts retailers’ purchases

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Due to a growing shortage of baby formula, retailers such as Target and Walmart are restricting purchases, and following the recent recall by Abbott Laboratories, parents are making multiple trips to deal with empty shelves.

In February, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Abbott recalled a powder formula made at a Michigan factory after two children fell ill with bacterial infections and died. Withdrawals exacerbated supply chain problems caused by the epidemic and the withdrawal of existing inventory issues due to shortage of raw materials. Now, families in some parts of the country are finding it difficult to come to terms with the formula.

“We know this withdrawal has exacerbated the industry-wide supply of infant formula. We are doing everything we can to address it,” Abbott told The Post in a statement, adding that increasing the production of Similac will help air-utilize and identify alternative formulas in production from Europe. Including working with providers.

Companies told The Post that both Walgreens and CVS restrict formula purchases online or in stores to three per transaction, while Target The Post restricts online formula purchases to four units per item. Costco representatives declined to comment, but limited the two-pack to two per order for a brand sold on its website.

Scott Goldberg, director of corporate communications at Walgreens Boots Alliance, told The Post in an email that “formulas for infants and toddlers are seeing a nationwide ban due to increased demand and various supplier challenges.” “Like other retailers, we implement three purchasing limits per transaction in the formula for all infants and toddlers to help improve inventory. We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to better meet customer demands.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart and Groger rationed some formula purchases on Tuesday. About 31 percent of Formula products nationwide were out of stock in the week to April 3, according to data from retail software company Datasembile.

According to Neil Sanders, president of Global Data Retail in New York, the Spotty shortage began in 2021 and has grown into a nationwide problem.

“Formula for children is still available in some stores, but distribution is very poor and stocks are rising too quickly,” Sanders told The Post in an email. “Unfortunately, the shortage encourages some to buy wholesale and hoarding, which further contributes to the problems that are available. That is why some retailers have size restrictions.

Sanders said consumers should “shop around” for the formula, which routinely searches multiple locations and encounters blank shelves and stock-free news online.

Sanders added that “there is a lot of concern among parents” because it is an “essential product”.

Emily Fiat, 22, recently went to eight different stores in search of formula for her 8-month-old baby. Regal has been spending more time and gas money trying to figure out the formula since she was forced to change her brands.

“This is the scariest thing I have ever experienced,” he posted on Facebook. “How do we feed our kids when there is no formula on the shelves !?”

Until his last three cans, Fiat said he would give his son more solid food to help the formula last longer. Store managers, trying to be helpful, have suggested that she should breastfeed or switch to whole milk or other alternatives that are unsafe for her son’s baby. She would breastfeed if she could, but like many women she struggled to produce enough.

“Stopping is a very heartbreaking decision and I think it’s sad when someone says that,” he told The Post. “I pray for women who have children who are not old enough to eat solid food.”

The deficit is placing a financial burden on families at a time when families are already struggling with the highest inflation in four decades. The price of infant formula, which is an alternative to breast milk, has risen, with the average price of popular brands exceeding $ 1,000 in a baby’s first year, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.

“As parents direct the extraordinary stress of this recollection, we are particularly concerned about dangerous practices that could affect a child’s growth and development,” Brian Dittmeyer, senior director of public policy at the National WIC Association, told The Post in an email.

Before changing formulas, parents should consult with their child’s health care provider. Dietmeyer warned that diluting the formula, making the formula at home, or converting cow’s milk to breast milk is “nutritionally incompatible with breast milk or infant formula,” and that it can cause nutritional deficiencies that can “have a pronounced impact on the growth and development of the baby.”

Parents who are unable to find the formula can contact their local WIC agencies and food banks to help find it in their communities, Ditmeyer said. But tools to monitor availability have not worked properly in recent weeks, and the “ripple effects of the deficit on manufacturers and state taxes” could continue to weigh heavily on families in the future.

“The lack of this formula is very frightening [can’t] Find my [son’s] Milk everywhere, ”the San Antonio woman using the @daniella_ayee handle posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

The February recall applies to some formulas Similac, Alimentum and EleCare labels, in which the first two digits of the container code are 22 or 37; The code contains K8, SH or Z2; And has an expiration date of April 1 or later. According to the company and the FDA, packages that do not meet all of those conditions will not be affected.

Affected products have already been pulled off the shelves, but if you are worried that you may have already purchased them, look up the lot number in the Formula container on the Abbott website.

Sense Robert P. to the FDA last week. According to a letter from Casey Jr. (D-Pen.) And Sherrod Brown (D-L), reports of illness involving the worst volumes of the formula had been leaked five months before the withdrawal. Ohio)

“For almost half a year, contaminated products have been on store shelves and baby bottles, leaving unsuspecting families at an unacceptable risk,” the senators wrote, “as a result of the recall presented an opportunity to invent a new formula. The logistics, financial and emotional burden on families across the United States.”

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