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Baby-Formula Shortage Becomes Emergency

Specialty Food Association

In many states, over half of baby formula products are sold out in stores, and across the U.S., 40 percent are out of stock, reports The Atlantic. It is suggested that bacteria, COVID-19 pandemic buying, and trade policies are all factoring into this shortage.

After two recent formula-related infant deaths, the pathogen Cronobacter sakazakii has been deemed the culprit, resulting in a large-scale FDA recall. Compounded on this recall, was tapering expected demand for baby formula due to domestic COVID-related panic-buying of baby formula in 2020, which further lead suppliers to downscale production, according to the report. 

Strict trade policies have created no alternative solution for parents wanting to purchase baby formulas overseas: dairy products of this type in Europe are likely illegal to purchase because of bans on certain ingredients or labeling issues, and formula that does meet FDA requirements are taxed at rates that can surpass 17 percent.

“The U.S. is a captive market for domestic dairy producers like Abbott, and during times of crisis, the lack of alternative supplies becomes a pretty big problem,” Scott Lincicome, the director of general economics and trade for the Cato Institute, told The Atlantic. Full Story

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