Parents in the US are facing a colossal shortage of baby food due to a massive recall that took the majority of products off the shelves.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jenn Psaki said the Food and Drug Administration was “working around the clock to address any possible shortages” and will try to expedite imports of foreign baby formula to increase supply. The problem has been triggered by months of spot shortages at pharmacies and supermarkets which have been exacerbated by the recall at Abbott, which was forced to shutter its largest U.S. formula manufacturing plant in February due to contamination concerns.
For now, pediatricians and health workers are urging parents who can’t find formula to contact food banks or doctor’s offices. They warn against watering down the formula to stretch supplies or using online DIY recipes.
“For babies who are not being breastfed, this is the only thing they eat,” said Dr. Steven Abrams, of the University of Texas, Austin. “So it has to have all of their nutrition and, furthermore, it needs to be properly prepared so that it’s safe for the smallest infants.”
Trying to keep formula in stock, retailers including CVS and Walgreens have begun limiting purchases to three containers per customer. Meanwhile, industry professionals say it will be hard to boost supply quickly because the FDA requires extensive testing, labeling, and inspections.