The United States is experiencing a nationwide shortage of milk powder: nearly 40% of common baby formula brands were sold out across the country during the week beginning April 24. During the same week, more than half of the typical baby products were unavailable in six states: Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Social media have been inundated with photos of empty shelves while parents recount endless treks to different supermarkets in search of the elusive formula.

Powdered milk is an essential part of the diet of 75% of babies over the age of 6 months in the United States. As a result, the shortage may have a significant impact on children’s future development.

Global factors have exacerbated the crisis over the last year. When it became clear in spring 2021 that coronavirus lockdowns had disrupted global supply chains, baby milk powder appeared to be just one of many affected products.

At that point, milk powder supplies had fallen by only 10%. But, Supplies had dropped by 20% by January 2022. Baby formula has been particularly affected by inflation because substitutes are difficult to find, causing families to stock up when prices are expected to rise. This buying frenzy appears to have caught manufacturers off guard.

However, in the Washington Post piece, Abbott’s chief executive apologized and laid out steps he said would return formula to retail shelves.

Abbott Nutrition the largest manufacturer of baby formula voluntarily shut down its Sturgis facility on Feb. 17 in response to several reports between Sept. 2021 and Feb. 2022 of bacterial contamination.

Abbott CEO Robert Ford wrote that the company was “sorry to every family we’ve let down.” in an op-ed published Saturday in the Washington Post.

Sources: Dailywire, Washingtonpost, Nytimes

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