It’s been a stressful time for Aisha Hunt, a Chicago-area mother who recently hasn’t been able to find baby formula for her son in region.
“You know it’s very stressful especially being a month out postpartum, that’s the last thing you want to be thinking about is how you’re going to feed your child,” she said.
Recall and supply chain issues have led to a nationwide shortage in recent weeks with major retailers including CVS, Walgreens and Target limiting some or all baby formula purchases.
“Between me and my husband we’re always making constant trips,” she said. “I’m not just saying like one or two, like seven or eight times. You’re going to different locations all around just trying to get a few boxes of formula.”
On Chicago’s Near West Side, NBC 5 found nearly empty shelves at CVS and Jewel-Osco.
Hunt has also encountered problems online.
“I can’t really trust the inventory that’s online because online will tell you that they have plenty in stock, only for you to find out the hard way that they don’t,” she said.
President Joe Biden is now under pressure to fix the problem after the national out-of-stock rate hit 43% at the end of last week.
“This is a process, we’re working very hard. Nothing more urgent,” said President Biden. “We’re working on that right now.”
The White House announced Thursday its ramping up imports, cutting red tape and price gouging and easing WIC restrictions for participating parents to get formula.
“I’m hopeful,” Hunt said. “I’m hopeful that there will be some type of resolution to all of this.”
The largest baby formula manufacturer, Chicago-based Abbott Labs, released a statement on Friday saying since the recall, its relying on production at its facilities in Ireland and Ohio and that other facilities are running at full capacity to try to restore the supply in the market.
The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday it would allow some formula products from the shuttered Abbott facility in Michigan to be released on a “case-by-case” basis.
In February, the FDA warned parents not to use certain popular powdered infant formulas manufactured at Abbott’s Sturgis plant after receiving four reports of infants who were hospitalized with bacterial infections after consuming formula from the facility. Two of the infants died.
Baby formula is particularly vulnerable to disruptions because just a handful of companies account for almost the entire U.S. supply, according to the Associated Press