May 24, 2022 - News

Baby formula shortage hits Georgia hard

Data: Datasembly; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The baby formula shortage has left store shelves bare across the country, leaving many families and caregivers scrambling to feed their children, including here in Georgia.

  • The scarcity is largely because of supply chain challenges linked to the pandemic and voluntary product recalls by one of the nation's largest suppliers.

Driving the news: More than 40% of Georgia's expected formula stock was absent from shelves the week of May 1, according to Datasembly, a retail software company.

  • In comparison, the nation averaged around 43%.

State of play: About 3 in 4 babies are fed formula by six months old as a complete or partial substitute for human milk, Axios' Nathan Bomey reports.

  • In the U.S., Abbott Nutrition controls nearly 50 percent of the baby formula industry's market. Four other companies control more than 40 percent of the rest.
  • Abbott shut down its Michigan plant in February because of allegations its formula was potentially making kids sick and was tied to some deaths.

Go deeper: Our Axios colleagues in Charlotte and Philadelphia spoke with local experts about what parents should do (check smaller retailers) and shouldn't do (make homemade formula).

The latest: The FDA announced last week that Abbott can reopen its plant, though it could take several weeks to reach full production again.

Between the lines: Sen. Raphael Warnock co-sponsored bipartisan legislation — later signed into law by President Biden — that gives parents receiving federal assistance more leeway to select formula.

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