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Baby formula shortage still hitting families hard; local group trying to help 

May 28, 2022 | 12:10 am

Updated May 27, 2022 | 8:20 pm

Photo by Bella Sailors

Baby formula is the latest commodity that is hard to find on shelves across the country. While the issue is expected to subside over the coming weeks, the shortage is still hitting families hard — especially those needing specialized formula.

According to NPR, four companies control 90% of the production of baby formula in the U.S. Therefore, it was no surprise how the market was affected when Abbott Nutrition — one of the four main corporations — had to close their plant in Michigan due to suspected contamination of their products. 

All guardians that feed their children using formula are in a tough spot right now, but some are having an especially hard time finding what their child needs. 

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“The plant not only produces a large share of the country’s regular baby formula, but is a critical supplier of specialized formula for infants with allergies and other health conditions that require a particular diet,” said Scott Horsley, writer for NPR. 

Brooke Jordan, a mother to a 5-month-old boy in Owensboro, is directly experiencing the effects of the shortage. Her child is on a hypoallergenic formula that is extremely difficult to locate right now. 

“It has become a part of my daily routine to wake up in the morning and search the internet for places that may have his formula in stock,” Jordan said. “I also take time every day to call around Owensboro and surrounding towns to see which stores might have the formula available. We even have family searching in different states.”

Aside from the obvious physical toll this shortage could take on infants’ health, the stress surrounding the situation is negatively affecting the mental health of parents as well. 

“As a first-time mom, the shortage has made me feel even more anxious about meeting my baby’s needs,” Jordan said. “I worry about the day that we get down to our last can of formula — what if we can’t find anymore? It’s a question that is constantly in the back of my mind right now. We just have to take it day by day.”

A particular social media group is doing all they can to support parents like Jordan through this shortage. The “Owensboro Helps” Facebook Page has roughly 14,300 members and is recently full of people looking to help desperate parents find the formula they need for their children.

“I think it’s great how the community within the page has rallied around each other to help everybody else by driving around to the grocery stores and taking pictures of the shelves and by giving away samples to other mothers who need them,” said a member of the Owensboro Helps administration team. “They’re doing a really stand-up job of helping each other out.”

Supporting parents in need of formula will remain a relevant cause for a while longer, as “It will be a few weeks before we are back to normal” according to FDA commissioner Robert Califf.

However, the situation is slowly becoming less severe. In the past, regulations on formula imports have been incredibly strict in an attempt to protect American infants, but the FDA has allowed for imports with increased precautions in this state of emergency. These shipments are beginning to arrive in the U.S and are gradually making their way to shelves. 

May 28, 2022 | 12:10 am

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