Aug 2, 2022 - Health

Why baby formula shortage is here to stay

Baby formula on shelves.
PBaby formula is seen on a shelf in a Target store. hoto: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The baby formula shortage that has plagued American families this spring isn't over yet, according to a report from the research firm Information Resources Inc. (IRI).

Driving the news: About 20% of all types of baby formula remained out of stock during the week ending on July 24, the report said.

  • Specifically, 30% of powdered baby formula products specifically remained out of stock for the week ending on July 24, per the IRI report.
  • Before the shortage earlier this spring, 10% of baby formula products were out of stock, showing there's still a deficit compared to normal numbers, CNN notes.

How it works: IRI used numbers from nationwide retailers for its report, including grocery and drug stores, mass merchants like Target and Walmart, military commissaries, and select dollar stores and club stores, IRI told Axios.

What they're saying: "There's no question that the situation where families are going into the store and finding absolutely no formula has gotten much better," Dr. Steve Abrams, a neonatologist at the University of Texas at Austin, told CNN.

  • "On the other hand, there are significant problems still in the system."

Catch up quick: The U.S. first started experiencing a baby formula shortage after the Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of products made by Abbott Nutrition at a Michigan site.

  • Abbott reached an agreement with the FDA to reopen the plant in May. The Michigan location didn't resume production until July after a severe storm flooded the site.

What we're watching: FDA commissioner Robert Califf told NPR last week that baby formula production will have to remain at high levels for another six to eight weeks to keep up with current demand.

  • The FDA said in July it would look to help foreign baby formula producers secure long-term authorization for the U.S. in order to help stop a shortage from happening again.
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