It’s been a stressful time for Aisha Hunt, a Chicago-area mother who has recently been unable to find infant formula for her son in the area.
“You know it’s very stressful, especially being a month after giving birth, that’s the last thing you want to think about is how you’re going to feed your baby,” she said.
Recall and supply chain issues have led to a nationwide shortage in recent weeks, with major retailers including CVS, Walgreens and Target limiting some or all of infant formula purchases.
“Between my husband and I we are always traveling constantly,” she said. “I’m not just saying it once or twice, seven or eight times. You’re going to different locations around just trying to get some boxes of formula.”
On Chicago’s Near West Side, NBC 5 found nearly empty shelves at CVS and Jewel-Osco.
Hunt also encountered problems online.
“I really can’t trust inventory that’s online because online will tell you they have a lot in stock, only for you to find out the hard way that they don’t,” she said.
President Joe Biden is now under pressure to address the issue after the national out-of-stock rate hit 43% late last week.
“This is a process, we are working hard. Nothing is more urgent,” President Biden said. “We are working on it now.”
The White House on Thursday announced increased imports, reducing bureaucracy and price manipulation and easing WIC restrictions for participating parents to obtain formula.
“I’m hopeful,” Hunt said. “I hope there is some sort of resolution to all of this.”
The largest baby formula maker, Chicago-based Abbott Labs, released a statement on Friday saying that since the recall, it is relying on production at its facilities in Ireland and Ohio and that other facilities are running at full capacity. to try to restore supply in the country. market.
The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it would allow some formula products from Abbott’s closed Michigan facility to be released “on a case-by-case basis.”
In February, the FDA warned parents not to use certain popular powdered infant formulas made at Abbott’s Sturgis factory after receiving four reports of babies who were hospitalized with bacterial infections after consuming the facility’s formula. Two of the babies died.
Infant formula is particularly vulnerable to disruptions because just a few companies account for nearly all of the U.S. supply, according to the Associated Press.