White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is working with manufactuers to ensure baby formula makes it back on empty shelves

Psaki says FDA working with manufacturers to ensure formula on shelves

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday the Biden administration is working with manufactuers to ensure baby formula makes it back on empty shelves as frantic parents work to ensure their children are fed.

‘Ensuring the availability of these products’ is a ‘priority’ for the Food and Drug Administration, Psaki said at her daily press briefing, noting ‘they’re working around the clock to address any possible shortage.’

The shortage was exacerbated by the FDA’s shutdown of an Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan. Abbott is a major producer of baby formula. Three brands were recalled because of potentia bacterial infections, including Salmonella.

Psaki defended the call, saying the oversight agency was doing its job to protect people. 

‘The FDA issued a recall to ensure that they’re meeting their obligation to protect the health of Americans, including babies,’ she said. ‘That’s their job.’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is working with manufactuers to ensure baby formula makes it back on empty shelves

Desperate mothers across the US have been forced to buy formula they know will make their babies sick as the country grapples with a shortage that has left shelves bare and has caused prices to skyrocket to $120-a-can.

The share of baby formula out of stock across the U.S. hit 40 percent on April 24, according to Datasembly. That’s up from 29 percent in March. 

Wynter Balthrop, of Gallatin, Tennessee, says she broke down inside her car after driving to six stores and calling others as far as three hours away only to receive the same answer – the Enfamil’s Nutramigen formula, the only her baby tolerates, was out-of-stock.

When it dawned on her she would have to feed her baby girl, Blakely, non-hypoallergenic formula she knew would make her stomach sick, the new mother burst into tears.

‘[I was] panicking and sad for my girl because we had enough formula left to make one bottle – and I knew we would have to use the generic formula that hurt her stomach again. And that broke my heart,’ Balthrop told Fox.

‘I mean, it just wasn’t fair to her,’ said Balthrop. ‘But we had no other options.’

Balthrop is among a growing number of mothers who have resorted to desperate options to feed their babies as America continues to struggle with a baby formula shortage fueled by the supply crisis and formula recalls.

Wynter Balthrop, of Gallatin, Tennessee, says she broke down inside her car after going to six stores and calling others as far as three hours away from her only to hear the same answer: the Enfamil's Nutramigen formula, the only formula her baby tolerates, was out-of-stock

Wynter Balthrop, of Gallatin, Tennessee, says she broke down inside her car after going to six stores and calling others as far as three hours away from her only to hear the same answer: the Enfamil’s Nutramigen formula, the only formula her baby tolerates, was out-of-stock

Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota have been especially affected with shortages higher than 50percent that have left shelves empty and prices skyrocketing to $120-a-can on eBay

Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota have been especially affected with shortages higher than 50percent that have left shelves empty and prices skyrocketing to $120-a-can on eBay

Major retailers such as CVS, Walgreens and Target had limited in-store and online purchases to up to three-per-buyer, as parents have raised concerns that many are hoarding the already hard-to-find formulas

Major retailers such as CVS, Walgreens and Target had limited in-store and online purchases to up to three-per-buyer, as parents have raised concerns that many are hoarding the already hard-to-find formulas

Many parents have taken to social media to voice their frustration

Many parents have taken to social media to voice their frustration

US BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE : EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW  

Where is the shortage? 

Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota have been especially affected with shortages higher than 50percent that have left shelves empty and prices skyrocketing to $120-a-can on eBay.

What is causing it?

The shortage began during the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say, when companies started to face supply-chain issues, including procuring the necessary ingredients, packaging hang-ups and labor shortages.

It only got worse in February, when Abbott Labs first announced a recall of certain Alimentum, Similac and EleCare formulas after five infants who used the formula contracted a Cronobacter sakazakii infection, which can cause severe blood infections and meningitis. One of the infants died as a result

What were the bacterial infections?

Cronobacter, formerly known as Enterobacter Sakazakii, is a germ found naturally in the environment. The germs can live in dry foods, such as powdered infant formula, powdered milk, herbal teas, and starches.

It can cause diarrhea and urinary tract infections in people of all ages, but infection can be very serious in infants. 

Infections are rare, but they can be deadly in newborns. Infections in infants usually occur in the first days or weeks of life. About two to four cases are reported to CDC every year, but this figure may not reflect the true number of illnesses because most hospitals and laboratories are not required to report 

Cronobacter can cause a dangerous blood infection (sepsi ) or make the linings surrounding the brain and spinal cord swell ( meningitis). Infants 2 months of age and younger are most likely to develop meningitis if they get sick from   

The first symptom of Cronobacter infection in infants is usually a fever, accompanied by poor feeding, crying, or very low energy. You should take an infant with these symptoms to the doctor. 

What are parents doing to prevent shortages?

Major retailers such as CVS, Walgreens and Target had limited in-store and online purchases to up to three-per-buyer, as parents have raised concerns that many are hoarding the already hard-to-find formulas.

Parents across the nation are now relying on strangers across state lines who kindly buy when it’s available, ship it to where it’s intended and are repaid.

Some desperate parents have had to resort to feeding their babies formula that they know will make the little ones sick.  Others are feeding their babied homemade formula. 

 What do experts say to do?

Meanwhile, the FDA has advised parents to ask their pediatricians for samples in cases in which they simply cannot find an alternative. 

The agency has also warned against resorting to homemade baby formula, noting that it could be potentially fatal for babies. 

Should parents use homemade formulas?

In 2021, the FDA issued a warning against homemade formulas after a number of infants fed off of recipes were hospitalized with hypocalcemia, a deficiency of calcium in the blood that can lead to seizures.

‘The FDA has stated that the agency does not recommend that consumers make infant formulas at home because of potentially very serious health concerns,’ a spokesperson for the FDA said last year.  

Experts have also warned against diluting formula or replacing it with cow’s milk.

Doing so is ‘not nutritionally comparable with breast milk or infant formula,’ according to Brian Dittmeier, senior director of public policy at the National WIC Association, and could cause nutrient deficiencies that can have a ‘profound impact on an infant’s growth and development.’

 

Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota have been especially affected with shortages higher than 50 percent that have left shelves empty and have led to staggering prices of $120-a-can on eBay, The New York Times reported. 

A total of 26 states have out of stock rates of 40 to 50 percent. 

Major retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, and Target have limited in-store and online purchases to up to three-per-buyer, as parents have raised concerns that many are hoarding the already hard-to-find formulas.

Parents across the nation are now relying on strangers across state lines who kindly buy formula when it’s available, ship it to where it’s intended and are repaid. 

Thirty-one-year-old Danielle Weels, often travels to stores to find formula that she sends to mothers in a support Facebook group for parents struggling to feed their babies, she told DailyMail.com. 

Her own eight-month-old daughter only tolerates hypoallergenic formula due to having a milk and soy allergy. 

Weels said she has had to switch her nany to store brands of the formula because Nutramigen is one of the most difficult formulas to find currently. 

‘The group has really allowed everyone to reach out easily whether it be to share what formula they have found in stores and where it’s located … With the shortage going on, parents are going to multiple stores, some even driving hours just to find one or two cans of the formula they need if they even find it,’ she told DailyMail.com on Monday.  

‘This has helped others just make on trip to a store to find their formula instead of going all over town in hopes of finding it coming up empty handed.’

‘I fortunately have not had to resort to [buying formula that would make my baby sick] yet. I have, however, heard of other parents having to resort to that. I am lucky enough to have a support system that has helped with finding formula in other areas,’ she added. 

Pediatricians have recommended mothers to breastfeed their baby for as long as possible, but the situation is proving dire for the 67percent of moms who struggle with the method, according to the CDC. 

The shortage began during the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say, when companies started to face supply-chain issues, including procuring the necessary ingredients, packaging hang-ups and labor shortages.

It only got worse in February, when Abbott Labs first announced a recall of certain Alimentum, Similac and EleCare formulas after five infants who used the formula contracted a Cronobacter sakazakii infection, which can cause severe blood infections and meningitis. One of the infants died as a result.

Batches of the brand of baby formula sold in Australia were also recalled, but no infants were reported to have been affected. 

The situation is even worse for those whose children are put on a specific formula either because they have allergies or due to their nutritional needs. 

There appears to be no end in sight, officials warn. 

‘Unfortunately, we don’t see this slowing down any time soon,’ Datasembly CEO Ben Reich said in a statement Monday. ‘Inflation, supply chain shortages and product recalls have continued to bring volatility to the category, and continues to be one of the most affected products in the market.’ 

‘We expect to continue to see the baby formula category being dramatically affected by these conditions. Baby formula stock … has been one of the more affected categories so far in 2022, and one that will continue to demonstrate higher than average out-of-stock levels,’ he also said.

Many parents have taken to social media to voice their frustration.  

‘This has GOT to be addressed!!!! Raise the gas prices, inflate the food, but give our babies the food they NEED!!!! How the hell did this just become optional?’ mother Kayla Zurenko wrote on Facebook. 

She continued: ‘I shouldn’t have to search a tri-STATE area for baby formula – and STILL not find any! My online orders are being canceled, stores are out, with no end in sight. I have enough formula for 14 more days and I’ve got TWO babies! 

‘It has become a full time job for me searching daily for formula to ensure we don’t run out but every day, I come up empty! I don’t see anyone outraged over this besides PARENTS. Kayla Zurenko wrote.

Meanwhile, the FDA has advised parents to ask their pediatricians for samples in cases in which they simply cannot find an alternative. 

For the week of April 3, at least 12 states faced out of stock rates higher than 40 percent, including Connecticut, Delaware, Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island

For the week of April 3, at least 12 states faced out of stock rates higher than 40 percent, including Connecticut, Delaware, Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island

Meanwhile, the FDA has advised parents to ask their pediatricians for samples in cases in which they simply cannot find an alternative

Meanwhile, the FDA has advised parents to ask their pediatricians for samples in cases in which they simply cannot find an alternative

The agency has also warned against resorting to homemade baby formula, noting that it could be potentially fatal for babies. 

‘I do NOT recommend making your own formula,’ Sarah Adams, a pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital told Fox.  ‘The AAP [American Academy of Pediatrics] strongly advises against homemade formula.’

‘These [options] are not safe and not FDA approved — infant deaths have been reported.’

Despite her claims, there have been no recent reports of deaths related to homemade baby formula. 

Pediatrician warns parents that making baby formula at home can be deadly for their infants as shortages caused by recall and supply crisis lead moms and dads to resort to extreme measures

By Alex Oliveira for DailyMail.com

As of April 24, CBS News reports, 40 to 50 percent of the top-selling baby formula products were out of stock at stores across the country, according to an analysis from Datasembly, which tracked baby formula stock at more than 11,000 retailers.

National out-of-stock levels jumped nine percentage points from 31 percent to 40 percent between April 3 and April 24, according to an analysis from Datasembly.

Parents have been turning to homemade recipes tracked down online to hold them over through the shortage, but Adams and other authorities say this practice is not safe. 

‘Although feeding babies regular milk or making homemade formula was common decades ago, it is not a safe or recommended practice,’ wrote Dr. Steven A. Abrams, on Healthychildren.org, ‘Formula mixtures made from online or other resources may not have vital components, such as enough iron or vitamins for a baby.’ 

Barren aisles once filled with baby formula are the common sight at stores across America

Barren aisles once filled with baby formula are the common sight at stores across America

National out-of-stock levels for baby formula jumped nine percentage points - from 31 percent to 40 percent - between April 3 and April 24, according to an analysis from Datasembly

National out-of-stock levels for baby formula jumped nine percentage points – from 31 percent to 40 percent – between April 3 and April 24, according to an analysis from Datasembly

‘Or, they may have too much salt or other nutrients that your baby’s kidneys and liver cannot handle in large amounts.’

In 2021, the FDA issued a warning against homemade formulas after a number of infants fed off of recipes were hospitalized with hypocalcemia, a deficiency of calcium in the blood that can lead to seizures.

‘The FDA has stated that the agency does not recommend that consumers make infant formulas at home because of potentially very serious health concerns,’ a spokesperson for the FDA said last year.  

Experts have also warned against diluting formula or replacing it with cow’s milk.

Doing so is ‘not nutritionally comparable with breast milk or infant formula,’ according to Brian Dittmeier, senior director of public policy at the National WIC Association, and could cause nutrient deficiencies that can have a ‘profound impact on an infant’s growth and development.’

He said any parents who are struggling to find formula can contact their local WIC agencies and food banks for help locating some in their communities.

The advice comes as parents are shelling out as much as $800 on eBay for cans of baby formula that normally cost $50, and are canvasing stores across entire regions to track down formula. 

‘We’ve called the WIC office,’ Jill Bradford, a foster mother to a 5-month-old baby girl with medical needs told WTVR, ‘We’ve called Thrive, which is a supply company. We’ve called every hospital system in the state. I’ve contacted personally, every Kroger, Walgreens, Walmart and CVS within the tri-cities area.’ 

Bradford said had less than two days of the special amino acid-based formula the baby needs at the time of the interview.   

The shortage began during the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say, when companies started to face supply-chain issues, including procuring the necessary ingredients, packaging hang-ups and labor shortages.

Many parents have become irate by the lack of media attention the shortage has received

Many parents have become irate by the lack of media attention the shortage has received 

Parents and politicians alike are slamming President Biden for his failure to address the US' ongoing baby formula shortage, which has reached crisis levels in recent weeks

Parents and politicians alike are slamming President Biden for his failure to address the US’ ongoing baby formula shortage, which has reached crisis levels in recent weeks

Even Democrats are pleading with the president to take action, with US Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island sending a letter to Biden last month urging his administration to take action to address the shortage

Even Democrats are pleading with the president to take action, with US Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island sending a letter to Biden last month urging his administration to take action to address the shortage

Ashleigh Olsen, also of Jacksonville, Florida, said her 9-month-old is limited to a specific formula she orders straight from the manufacturer as her son could face an allergic reaction to others. But there is no word on when it will be available again.   

‘Luckily I stocked up last time. So today when I opened my last can, that kind of lit my fire a little bit,’ Olsen  said. 

And in the midwest, Kassidi Hillard, who has a 2-month-old who needs Similac Pro-Advance, told WDRB she has ‘looked at every store in Indiana and here [in Kentucky] and haven’t found her formula at not one store.

‘It’s kind of stressful, cause if you can’t find formula, it’s like they can’t eat nothing else,’ Hillard said. ‘They can’t have baby food, they can’t have hard food, they can’t have what we eat so it’s really, it’s not an easy thing to go through.’

In Texas, Emily Pyeatt, 22, wrote on Facebook that she recently went to eight stores in search of formula for her 8-month-old.

‘This is the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced,’ she wrote on March 30. ‘How are we supposed to feed our children when there’s NO FORMULA ON THE SHELVES?’

She later told the Washington Post that as she was down to her last three cans, she has been easing her son onto more solid foods, as she does not produce enough milk to breastfeed. 

‘I pray for the women who have babies who are not old enough for solid food,’ Pyeatt said.

‘Never did I think I would have a problem finding food for my baby in America,’ said Russel Bleck, 33, a father from Lexington, Kentucky, in an interview with Fox News Digital on Friday.

The shortage has left parents like Russell and Bre Bleck of Kentucky frantically searching for formula in stores and online. 'The panic of possibly not being able to feed my baby was intense,' Bleck, 33, said, pleading for both the government and media to address the crisis. Pictured is the couple with their 3-year-old daughter, Aurora

The shortage has left parents like Russell and Bre Bleck of Kentucky frantically searching for formula in stores and online. ‘The panic of possibly not being able to feed my baby was intense,’ Bleck, 33, said, pleading for both the government and media to address the crisis. Pictured is the couple with their 3-year-old daughter, Aurora

The pair welcome their second child, son Asher, six weeks ago, and say they have since had great difficulty finding formula for the infant

The pair welcome their second child, son Asher, six weeks ago, and say they have since had great difficulty finding formula for the infant

Ire over the shortage has been turned on President Biden, who critics from both parties have accused of staying silent on the issue, and pouring billions into Ukraine while the US’ most vulnerable starve.   

‘This is horrific,’ Indiana congressman Jim Banks wrote in a tweet criticizing the president – whose administration has provided more than $4 billion to Ukraine since he was elected, with plans to shell out billions more in the coming months. 

‘In six states, more than 50% of baby formula is out of stock,’ Banks, a Republican, wrote.

‘Across the country, the price of formula is up nearly 20 percent from last year,’ he went on, also noting the current inflation crisis that has emerged in the little more than two years since Biden assumed office.  

‘Young parents are having to ration food. The disastrous Joe Biden economy is turning into a crisis.’

Even Democrats are pleading with the president to take action, with US Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island sending a letter to Biden last month urging his administration to take action to address the shortage.

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