Supply disruptions and a massive safety recall of baby formula in the U.S. has led to many products being taken off store shelves leaving families scrambling.
Months of spot shortages at pharmacies and supermarkets have been exacerbated by the recall at Abbott, which was forced to shutter its largest U.S. formula manufacturing plant, located in Michigan, in February due to contamination concerns.
On Monday, May 8, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Food and Drug Administration was “working around the clock to address any possible shortages.”
On Tuesday, May 9, the FDA said it was working with U.S. manufacturers to increase their output and streamlining paperwork to allow more imports.
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration urging them to expedite its investigation of the Abbott facility and come up with a long-term plan to alleviate future problems with supply and distribution.
“In the United States, almost three-quarters of all babies—2.7 million a year—will rely on formula for some portion of their nutrition. Even babies who successfully breastfeed often need additional nutritional support from formula,” wrote Hirono.
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 formula to stretch supplies or using online DIY recipes.