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America’s Baby Formula Shortage: What You Need to Know

The United States has been facing a severe shortage of baby formula, with some stores reporting out-of-stock rates of up to 72%. The shortage has been caused by a number of factors, including a recall of Abbott Nutrition products, supply chain disruptions, and increased demand.

What Caused the Shortage?

The shortage was triggered by a recall of Abbott Nutrition products in February 2022. Abbott is the largest manufacturer of infant formula in the United States, and its recall of Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare products accounted for about 40% of the market. The recall was initiated after four infants who consumed formula produced at Abbott’s Sturgis, Michigan plant were hospitalized with bacterial infections. Two of the infants died.

The recall led to a significant decrease in the supply of baby formula in the United States. This was further exacerbated by supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused labor shortages, shipping delays, and increased prices for raw materials, all of which have contributed to the shortage.

What is the Government Doing to Address the Shortage?

The Biden administration has taken a number of steps to address the shortage, including:

  • Importing baby formula from other countries
  • Expanding access to WIC benefits, which help low-income families purchase formula
  • Working with manufacturers to increase production

What Can Parents Do to Find Formula?

Parents who are struggling to find formula can try the following:

  • Check with their local stores regularly.
  • Contact their pediatrician for help finding formula
  • Use online retailers.
  • Consider using powdered formula, which is more widely available.
  • Talk to their doctor about other options, such as breastfeeding or donor milk.

The shortage is a difficult time for parents, but there are resources available to help. Parents should not hesitate to reach out for help if they are struggling to find formula.

How Long Will the Baby Formula Shortage Last?

While it may seem like a straightforward question, it’s not really something that anyone can answer. It is difficult to say exactly how long the baby formula shortage will last due to the slew of different factors that caused the shortage in the first place. Instead of trying to make any guesses or assumptions, it’s best to observe the situation and react accordingly.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Future Shortages?

The Biden administration has proposed a number of measures to prevent future shortages, including:

  • Increasing the number of domestic formula manufacturers.
  • Investing in research and development of new formula products.
  • Expanding access to WIC benefits.
  • Working with manufacturers to increase production capacity.

These measures are designed to make the US formula market more resilient and prevent future shortages.


We hope this discussion has helped you gain a better understanding of the baby formula shortage. While it may seem difficult, understanding why this happened and what is being done about it will help you make the most informed decisions possible. Feel free to refer back to this article if you need a quick refresher on the baby formula shortage.

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