Baby Formula Shortage


Image via NBC News

Madeline Miller , Staff Writer

 Since February, there have been empty shelves replacing where baby formula used to be. This shortage has rightfully caused a panic throughout all people raising a newborn.


 An Abbott Laboratories manufacturing site in Michigan was forced to shut down this past February, sparking a new crisis. The location was forced to shut down due to four babies receiving a bacterial infection from the formula. Abbott has ensured that this unfortunate occurrence was caused by the site, not the formula. Without this key location, the production of baby formula has taken a steep decline.


 The reason this issue is so prevalent is because of how important baby formula is. Without this formula, babies are unable to get the proper nutrients that are needed to grow and stay living. Once a mother is no longer able to breast-feed her child, it becomes mandatory that the baby gets formula until the baby is at least a year old. Formula has many vitamins and iron that are key for humans at a very early stage.


 As necessary as the formula is, it is not cheap. Before this event many families had to find alternatives or cheaper resources in order to give their child the formula they needed. Due to this, there are programs in place for less-fortunate families who need baby formula. One example of these programs is Wic. Wic gives women baby formula at a lower cost, and is responsible for almost 50% of the formula that is used in the US. Abbott Laboratories was a large contributor to the Wic program, which has caused many women to scramble for new resources. 


 Thankfully, there is an end to this situation in sight. The FDA has approved the site to reopen two weeks after the initial shut down. Although this sets the production rate back eight to ten weeks, it does promise the arrival of formula to come back. The FDA has also said that they will ease the rules set on international purchase of baby formula, allowing more to be sold from varying countries. This will also increase the supply for the US.


 This circumstance was a scary event for any person caring for a newborn, and many are thankful to be hearing about a solution. To prevent this in the future there are many steps being put into place, such as more observance on companies that produce vital products from government officials. Hopefully this is an event that can be prevented in the future, and will be unlikely to repeat itself.