Parents in some areas still seeing shortage of baby formula

U.S.

Only a few scoops are left in her next to last can, as Yury Navas, 29, of Laurel, Md., feeds her infant son, Jose Ismael Gálvez, 2 months, with the only formula he can take without digestive issues, Enfamil Infant, from her dwindling supply of formula at their apartment in Laurel, Md., Monday, May 23, 2022. After this day’s feedings she will be down to their last 12.5 ounce container of formula. Navas doesn’t know why her breastmilk didn’t come in for her third baby and has tried many brands of formula before finding the one kind that he could tolerate well, which she now says is practically impossible for her to find. To stretch her last can she will sometimes give the baby the water from cooking rice to sate his hunger. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(NewsNation) — Eight months after it began, a shortage of baby formula continues to be an issue for some parents across the country.

The impact of the shortage is being felt only in certain regions of the country. Recent data showed shelf stock rates for formula are nearly as high as they were before the shortage began, but parents in some areas are saying they still can’t find formula in stores.

The shortage of formula began when an Abbott Laboratories plant was shut down after issues with food safety were reported.

Food and Drug Administration inspectors found five strains of deadly bacteria at the plant and shut down the facility. Abbott voluntarily recalled formula that could be contaminated.

The formula shortage has hit many American families hard, especially those with children who have medical conditions that require specially formulated nutrition.

Part of the issue has to do with the small number of formula producers in the U.S. Just four companies produce 90 percent of all baby formula sold, with Abbott producing 48 percent. Formula produced in other countries can’t be imported easily due to high tariffs and FDA regulations.

Abbott is planning to open another plant to help boost production.

The Biden administration is blaming supply chain issues and hoarding for the continued shortage. Uneven distribution of formula may also play a role.

The administration has taken a number of actions to try to address the shortage, including providing more flexibility for parents on federal nutrition programs when they’re buying formula, using the Defense Production Act to increase supply, loosening FDA requirements, and even flying in formula from other countries.

Currently, there is no estimated date for when officials expect formula supplies to return to normal levels.

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