Baby Formula Shortage Hits Close To Home For South Carolina Moms

Area moms help each other through Facebook group …

The baby formula shortage in the United States has sparked debate, anger and frustration amongst caregivers and parents who are coming up with creative ways to find formula they need.

Tariffs, recalls and government policies have placed a burden on an already-strained industry.

With empty shelves in the United States becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence, baby formula took a huge hit after a recall in late February exacerbated shortages of an already heavily regulated product.

(Click to view)

(Via: Angela Schumpert)

Policies enacted during both the Trump and Biden administrations have systematically suppressed imports to the United States.

Tariffs and other regulations have made it more difficult for any formula produced outside of the country to make its way to store shelves. According to a recent article by Reason, just last year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled more than 76,000 cans of formula from Germany — all as a result of the packaging label not mentioning that the iron content in the cans was “less than one milligram of iron per 100 calories.”

The White House recently addressed the vanishing formula by invoking the Defense Protection Act in hopes to elevate the shortage crisis. “Operation Fly Formula” will, ironically, be used to expedite formula imports to the United States.

In a statement issued by the White House on May 19, the operation is working to obtain formula from Zurich, Switzerland. This is coming on the heels of the announcement that the FDA is working with the largest formula producer in the US to reopen its plant after the February recall.

Abbott, a major supplier of Similac baby formula, voluntarily stopped production after four infants contracted bacterial infections known as Cronobacter sakazakii. This bacteria can cause a serious blood infection that can lead to death. Two of the four infants that contracted the bacteria died.

Abbott did release a statement stating that there were areas in the plant that contained the deadly bacteria, however, the strains did not match the bacterial strains that were found in the infected infants. Abbott also added that none of the bacteria was discovered in their production sites and, moreover, none of their formula tested positive for Cronobacter sakazakii or any other contaminant.

The company has said that the facts are not being reported. They are not wrong.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did not find any contaminated formula that was used to feed the infected infants. Three of the infants had open containers tested from their homes. Two tested negative. In the third case, a container of distilled water that was used to make the infant’s bottles tested positive for the strain that infected the infant.

Just this week, Abbott reached a deal with the FDA to allow its Sturgis, Michigan, plant to resume production of baby formula. This is good news. However, Abbott has stated it could be two months from the time it restarts production (which will not be for another two weeks) to the time the product hits the shelves. With the shortage creating a nightmare scenario for parents, many have turned to social media in the hopes of finding creative ways to circumvent traditional ways of purchasing formula.  

Moms have started helping moms – working together to take care of each other and provide formula to babies.

One woman, Jordan Craps, founded a Facebook group entitled “Lexington SC Formula Finds.” Craps has connected moms around the area who are having problems finding formula. In the group, mothers and caregivers swap current pictures of shelves in stores, buy formula from each other, offer trades and even give away formula for free to those in need.

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(Via: Jordan Craps)

Jordan watched her Facebook feed become inundated with moms asking for help finding formula. She wanted a place for them to go as a group, where they could come together and safely attempt to lessen the burden of searching for specific formula. There are also retail workers and shoppers who post on the page to keep everyone current on the area’s supply.

“It really does take a village sometimes, even if that village is a bunch of parents looking out for one another,” Jordan says.

Though the group is based in Lexington, South Carolina, it has added parents from all over the county who are willing to ship. Jordan is one of many moms struggling with the shortages. She found it difficult to find formula after she was forced to stop breastfeeding due to medication she had to take.

While Jordan said she did not need a specialty formula for her son, it’s become increasingly challenging to find any specialty formulas available in stores.

“Many babies need special formula to grow and survive. Those are the harder ones to find. There’s nothing scarier than the thought of your baby being hungry or going without,” she says.

Yet that is an acute reality in the United States right now …

(Click to view)

(Via: Angela Schumpert)

Operation Fly Formula has recently acquired prescription formula from Germany.

This shipment, which was transported by a military C-17, and will be distributed to areas of the U.S. that need it the most — not to store shelves. This is for the sake of infants that have reactions to cow-milk proteins found in other formulas.

The White House announced that in a few days the operation is going to have more formula available to the general public, after quality testing is complete.

In the meantime, searching for your child’s formula will continue to prove challenging until domestic production returns to normal levels.



(Via: Lexington Yankee)

Angela Schumpert is a wife, mother and veteran of the United States Air Force. Originally from Ohio, she is a Buckeye fan and loves college football. Angela loves to write about local hot spots, so if you know of one, let her know!  She is the creator of Lexington Yankee Blog.



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