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  • 'There's Nothing On The Shelves,' US Parents Face Baby Formula Shortage

    What you need to know about the baby formula shortage in the US.
    by Judy Santiago Aladin .
'There's Nothing On The Shelves,' US Parents Face Baby Formula Shortage
PHOTO BY FROM LIVESCIENCE / SOPA IMAGES / GETTY IMAGES
  • To be able to feed your baby is the primary concern of mothers. But what happens if their food is not available?

    More than two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, there's still a shortage of baby formula in the United States. Parents in the US are extremely worried on how they can feed their babies, looking for alternatives or sourcing from different countries. 

    What you need to know about US baby formula shortage

    Here's what we have gathered so far, from various reports.

    1. There is an existing formula shortage in the US due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and a product recall worsened it.

    According to a report by TIME, the formula shortage resulted from a combination of factors, including staffing shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions at the national and international level.

    On February 17 and 28, Abbott announced a product recall of some powder formulas manufactured in their facility in Sturgis, Michigan. It included products such as Similac PM 60/40, Alimentum, EleCare and Human Milk Fortifier. 

    The recall was due to four cases of infant illnesses from September 2021 to January 2022 were linked to the Abbott formulas, where two babies died. The infants who died consumed Similac PM 60/40 after being diagnosed as having Cronobacter sakazakii infection.

    However, Abbott said there is no evidence to link their formulas to the infants' illnesses.

    READ ALSO: 5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Formula Milk

    2. The US-FDA is leading a federal initiative to increase the nation's supply of formula. 

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    US-FDA meanwhile assured parents that they are "Ensuring the availability of safe, sole-source nutrition products like infant formula is of the utmost importance to the FDA," FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said in the May 10 statement, reported by CNN.

    "Our teams have been working tirelessly to address and alleviate supply issues and will continue doing everything within our authority to ensure the production of safe infant formula products." 

    3. CDC warns parents about counterfeit formula.

    Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised parents to observe symptoms of Cronobacter infection among their infants age 0 to 1 year old who have taken the recalled formula. These are:

    • fever 
    • poor feeding 
    • excessive crying 
    • very low energy
    • seizures

    CDC also cautioned parents, "Do not buy formula online that comes from outside the United States. This formula could be counterfeit — for example, it may have fake labels to misrepresent the quality or identity of a formula, the product may not have the proper nutrients or ingredients to feed your baby, or it might have a fake label with a wrong use-by date."

    Read their full advisory here.

    4. Parents in the US are scouring for baby formula

    In a report by Agence France Presse posted by ABS-CBN News, one mom shared her experience. Olivia Espinosa, mom of two, painted a picture on how the shortage is like: "There's nothing on the shelves."

    She has a three-week-old baby who is lactose intolerant. She said, she has difficulty breastfeeding, and so they will have to go with a plant-based formula as an alternative. "It's extremely frustrating and especially with a newborn, somebody who is requiring very specific food right now."

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    READ ALSO: 'Stop Making Moms Feel Like a Criminal When It Comes to Formula Milk'

    Will this impact the Philippine market?

    Smart Parenting reached out to Abbott Philippines to ask if the US shortage will impact the baby formula stocks here in the country. This was their response.

    "Abbott in the Philippines has not been impacted by the infant formula supply shortage in the U.S., and we are doing everything we can to address the infant formula supply."

    What other parents are reading

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