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Data Shows Baby Formula Shortage Worsening

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Woman wearing a mask shopping for baby formula. | Image by Getty Images

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U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration continues to address the nationwide baby formula shortage. Still, new data confirms what parents are seeing: the shortage has worsened, and families are still having a hard time finding products.

According to Datasembly, a company that tracks the supply of consumer goods, 60% of all baby formula is out of stock in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. 

“Datasembly’s real-time hyper-local data analysis shows that baby formula stock was relatively stable for the first half of 2021,” the company stated in a press release. “Out-of-stock (OOS) fluctuations were between 2-8%. The OOS detail shows that in April 2022, baby formula shortages hit 30%. Moreover, that number then jumped to 40% at the end of the month.”

“It’s pretty much terrible,” Bernie Lott, a father, told CBS News. “Most Walmarts, Targets, any store we go to and try to find it — it’s pretty much empty for the most part.”

The nationwide OOS situation continues to worsen in the first week of May. For the week ending May 8, the national baby formula OOS percentage is now at 43%, according to Datasembly.

“This issue has been compounded by supply chain challenges, product recalls, and historic inflation,” CEO of Datasembly Ben Reich said. “The category started to see stocking challenges beginning in July 2021, and the situation has continued to worsen into 2022.”

While the United States struggles with limited quantities of baby formula on store shelves, Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider says he does not expect “major newborn formula shortages” in other countries that rely on the company’s supply, The Dallas Express reports.

“This was very much a domestic situation caused by the outage of a large facility in the U.S.,” Schneider told Reuters

In a Senate hearing, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf stated that baby formula shortages should be alleviated by July, The Dallas Express reported.

“It’ll be a gradual improvement up to probably around two months until the shelves are repleted again,” Califf said during testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Earlier this year, a major voluntary recall of three popular baby formula brands contributed to the baby formula shortage.

According to The Dallas Express, four infants were hospitalized after consuming baby formula in February, prompting the FDA to issue an emergency warning to parents to stop using the products.

After one infant tragically died from an infection possibly linked to the product, Abbott Nutrition recalled certain Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powders.

The country’s recall and recent supply chain issues, which have resulted in many products being marked out of stock in stores and online, are significant contributors to the formula shortage.

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