The shortage of infant formula is getting worse

The rate of stock-outs for infant formula ranged between 2% and 8% in the first half of 2021, but began to rise sharply last July. Data from Datasembly showed, between November 2021 and early April 2022, the stock out rate jumped to 31%.

Statistics show that this rate has increased by another 9% in just the past two weeks, and now stands at 40%. In six states — Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Texas and Tennessee — more than half of all infant formula was sold out during the week beginning April 24, Datasimble said.

Although seven states Between 40-50% of infant formula products were out of stock as of early April, 26 states are now struggling with supplies.

“This issue has been exacerbated by supply chain issues, product recalls and historical inflation,” said Ben Reich, CEO of Datasembly. “Unfortunately, given the unprecedented amount of fluctuations in this category, we expect infant formula to remain one of the most affected products on the market.”

CVS confirmed Saturday that it is limiting customers nationwide to three infant and toddler formulas per treatment. “We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands,” CVS said in a statement to CNN Business.

A Target spokesperson confirmed that the retailer has limited purchases of infant formula to four units per customer for online purchases. The company said there is no limit to the number of units that can be purchased in person at Target stores.

Share customers photos on Social media Walmart has imposed similar restrictions on its sales of infant formula, although Walmart has not confirmed whether it is a national policy. Photos shared with CNN Business show empty shelves where infant formula should be, and a sign that only five units are allowed per customer.

Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.

The shortage has been exacerbated by the FDA shutdown of the Abbott Nutrition Facility in Sturgis, Michigan. Abbott is a major producer of infant formula.

In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pulled three brands of the company’s dried baby formula due to potential bacterial infections, including salmonella. The agency advised parents not to buy or use certain batches of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare infant formulas, all of Abbott’s brands.
A former employee of Abbott Nutrition filed a whistleblower complaint with the Food and Drug Administration months before the summons, documenting their concerns that the company was hiding safety issues in Sturgis, Michigan. the plants. Formulas manufactured at the facility were recalled after four infants who drank them developed a rare infection caused by the bacterium Cronobacter sakazakii. The complaint said two children died.

An Abbott spokesperson noted that the recall only affected batches of formulas produced and distributed out of Sturgis, Michigan. No other products distributed by Abbott have yet been tested positive for salmonella or other pathogens, he said.

Finding the standard formula has become difficult for parents, with many describing the extraordinary lengths they have gone to in order to get even one can or bottle. It’s hard to locate the specialized formula amid widespread shortages. Parents are heading to neighboring states to try their luck, and many are asking for help on social media, pleading with strangers to share or even bartering any extra supplies they may have.

Abbott told CNN In the statement Saturday It is working closely with the Food and Drug Administration to resume operations at its Michigan plant.

“We continue to make progress with corrective actions and will implement additional actions as we work to address items related to the latest recall. In the meantime, we are increasing the supply of infant formula by prioritizing infant formula production in our facilities, which is currently under construction,” Abbott told CNN Business. Introducing the product to the American market.

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