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‘I’ve looked from here to Virginia’: Baby formula shortage looms large for ENC families

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 8:52 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Parents across the country are becoming increasingly desperate trying to find baby formula.

A severe shortage, driven by supply chain issues and a major safety recall, has swept many leading brands off of store shelves.

Eastern Carolina parents are forced to travel from store to store to find the right baby formula for their children.

MaryBeth Stroud, a mother of twins, says the distance between her and finding the right resources has reached over 500 miles.

“I have everybody out there, friends, family, looking for me at the store every day,” Stroud said. “I’ve looked from here to South Carolina, Virginia, every Sam’s Club, every formula that they have is out of stock. If I have to drive wherever I have to go, I will go there. We will pack in the car, and we will go because if I have to... that’s our only option.”

Supply chain experts say the problem is partially fueled by the recall of products from one of the three major baby formula manufacturers.

“Abbott had a formula recall, the reaction to babies who were poisoned and died from the formula, so they immediately shut down the production facility, the FDA came in and is reviewing all of their processes,” Robert Handfield, NC State supply chain management professor said.

With Abbott producing more than 40-50% of the baby formula that is on the shelf, the other two producers don’t have the capacity to make up the difference. And supply chain experts have stated that they do not see that changing anytime soon.

Many grocery stores are now limiting how much formula parents can buy at a time. And while parents scramble for other options, the FDA is encouraging parents to check with their pediatrician before making changes to their children’s diet.

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