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Another Crisis: Nationwide Baby Formula Shortage Puts The Squeeze On Parents

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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American parents are struggling as retailers enter the second month of a nationwide baby formula shortage.

Forty percent of the top baby formula products at American retailers were out of stock as of April 24, CBS News reported, citing an analysis by Datasembly. The White House said Wednesday the issue is a “top priority” for the Biden administration, which is already feeling political pressures from record-high inflation.

“Ensuring that infant formula is safe and available for families across the country is a top priority to the White House,” incoming White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One.

Thirty-one percent of formula was out of stock on April 3, according to Datasembly, compared to just 11% last November. Retailers are beginning to ration the amount of formula customers can buy at one time in response to the shortage. CVS, Walgreens and Target all put limits in place in the past month, according to CBS. Meanwhile, the average price of the country’s most popular formula has increased by up to 18% in the last 12 months.

There are at least six states where more than 50% of formula is out of stock, according to Datasembly. The Infant Nutrition Council of America warned parents against hoarding the product, but said they should have a 10-day to two-week supply on hand at any given time. (RELATED: Biden To America: Your Frustration … ‘I Can Taste It’)

Experts say the shortage is being driven by supply chain snags caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. A major recall of Abbott baby formula earlier this year is worsening the crisis.

Some Republicans have begun to criticize the Biden administration for not getting the situation under control. House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik and Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson penned a letter Tuesday to the Food and Drug Administration, asking the agency what its plans are to end the shortage. Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton called on the FDA to “immediately step up.”