The shortage of baby replacements is getting worse

Sold out in stock for baby replacement fluctuated between 2% and 8% in the first half of 2021, but began to rise sharply in July last year. Between November 2021 and the beginning of April 2022, the sell-out price jumped to 31%, data from Datasembly showed.

This frequency has increased by a further 9% in the last two weeks alone, and is now 40%, the statistics show. In six states – Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Texas and Tennessee – more than half of the baby replacement was completely sold out during the week beginning April 24, Datasembly said.

And even though seven states had between 40-50% of baby replacement products sold out in early April, 26 states are now struggling with the offer.

“This problem has been exacerbated by supply chain problems, product recalls and historical inflation,”[ads1]; said Datasembly Manager Ben Reich. “Unfortunately, given the unprecedented amount of volatility in the category, we expect baby replacements to continue to be one of the most affected products on the market.”

CVS confirmed on Saturday that it limits customers across the country to three toddler and infant replacements per transaction. “We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer requirements,” CVS said in a statement to CNN Business.

A spokesperson from Target confirmed that the retailer has limited the purchase of baby replacement to four units per customer for online purchases. There is no limit to the number of devices that can be purchased in person at Target stores, the company said.

Customers shared photos Social Media of Walmart imposing similar restrictions on the sale of infant formula, although Walmart did not confirm whether it was a nationwide policy. Pictures shared with CNN Business show empty shelves where baby replacements should be, and a sign saying that only five units were allowed per customer.

Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.

Alerts the FDA notified of alleged safety breaches at baby replacement facilities months before recalls, the complaint shows

The shortage has been exacerbated by the Food and Drug Administration’s closure of an Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan. Abbott is a major producer of infant formula.

In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalled three brands of powdered baby substitutes made by the company due to potential bacterial infections, including Salmonella. The agency advised parents not to buy or use certain batches of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas, all Abbott brands.
A former Abbott Nutrition employee filed a whistleblowing complaint with the FDA months before the recall, documenting their concerns that the company was hiding safety issues at the Sturgis plant, Mich. The formulas produced at the plant were recalled after four infants who drank it became ill from rare infections caused by Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria. Two infants died, the complaint states.

The Abbott spokesman noted that the recall only affected batches of formulations produced by and distributed from their Sturgis, Mich. Plant, and said that no other products that Abbott distributes so far have tested positive for Salmonella or other pathogens.

Finding the standard formula has become difficult for parents, many of whom described the extraordinary lengths they have gone to to score even a single box or bottle. Specialized formula is even harder to find in the midst of the extensive shortage. Parents drive to neighboring states to try their luck, and many ask for help on social media, asking strangers to share or even exchange any extra supplies they may have.

Abbott told CNN in a statement Saturday It is working closely with the FDA to resume operations at the Michigan facility.

“We continue to make progress with corrective actions and will implement further actions while working to address elements related to the recent recall. In the meantime, we are working to increase the supply of breast milk substitutes by prioritizing the production of breast milk substitutes at our facilities that provide products to the US market, “Abbott said in a statement to CNN Business.

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