A baby formula shortage in the US is hurting young parents across the country. How did this ever happen?
Years ago in Hong Kong laws were enforced to prevent Chinese visitors across the border from carrying more than two cans of formula out of Hong Kong and into China. This flood of formula out of Hong Kong was because in China formula had been produced with foreign particles in it that were unhealthy for the baby. Because of this, the people in China no longer trusted the formula made in China. This led to a profitable business for individuals to enter Hong Kong and pick up the formula and bring it back to China and sell it for a profit.
Today the US has problems with baby formula. There is not enough formula for babies in the US. Senator Tom Cotton tweeted:
The formula shortage is a national crisis, hitting poor moms and kids the hardest.
The FDA needs to immediately step up, be transparent, explain how it will get production restarted, and give parents a timeline.
And the Brandon Administration needs to take this seriously.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) May 9, 2022
CBS News reports:
At retailers across the U.S., 40% of the top-selling baby formula products were out of stock as of the week ending April 24, a new analysis from Datasembly, which tracked baby formula stock at more than 11,000 stores, shows. National out-of-stock levels jumped nine percentage points, from 31% to 40% between April 3 and April 24. That’s up sharply from 11% in November.
“This is a shocking number that you don’t see for other categories,” Ben Reich, CEO of Datasembly told CBS MoneyWatch.
The supply of baby formula was already so constrained that retailers have been limiting the number of products consumers are allowed to purchase in order to preserve their inventories.
We reported on the baby formula shortages last month.
CBS News continues:
Prices of baby formula, which three-quarters of babies in the U.S. receive within their first six months, have also spiked. The average cost of the most popular baby formula products is up as much as 18% over the last 12 months.
Supply-chain snarls related to COVID-19 are contributing to the shortage of formula around the U.S. They include manufacturers having more difficulty procuring key ingredients, packaging hangups and labor shortages, with those factors combining to affect production and distribution. In addition, a majorin January exacerbated shortages.
Americans are being asked to not hoard the formula as manufacturers work overtime to provide this important product to babies and their parents.