Baby formula shortage stretches into eighth month


Families still struggle as baby formula shortage stretches into eighth month

FOX Business’ Madison Alworth hears from a Pennsylvania mother of two, Jerri Janelle Rayburg, about having to resort to purchasing baby formula from Switzerland.

Families across the country are still struggling to find baby formula as the crisis stretches into its eighth month. 

While stocking rates of baby formula have slowly been improving, certain supply is still struggling to rebound. 

The national in-stock rate for baby formula has climbed back to 82.24%, but the supply is still below the 89% supply families were accustomed to before the formula crisis began in February. 

Around 33% of American families were still struggling to find baby formula in September, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. Meanwhile, nearly one in five affected households has less than one week of formula accessible, the same survey reveals. 


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Mothers in rural areas are having the hardest time accessing formula. 

"In rural parts of my district, there are still empty shelves in key communities," Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., told FOX Business. "Working families are having to drive further and further distances to access if they need specialty formula or if they need regular formula and their store is sold out."

Stefanik experienced the empty shelves firsthand after Abbott’s plant shut down in February when a recall compounded ongoing supply-chain hurdles. As a new mother, she scrambled to find formula in her rural district in upstate New York, with stores rationing supply and speciality types of formula unavailable on shelves. 

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Lawmakers like Stefanik have been calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address why the agency has not acted swiftly enough in response to the shortages and introduced bills that would accept additional formula manufactures to market. Part of the proposed legislation would allow more foreign imports of formula. 

While the FDA eased federal import regulations and the Biden administration airlifted millions of pounds of formula from overseas, some mothers worry that it’s a short-term fix to a market that lacks enough domestic manufacturing. 


Jerri Janelle Rayburg, a mom of two, struggled her entire maternity leave to find formula for her newborn son who was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy. She spent hours driving to five or more stores looking for the hyper-allergenic, sensitive and amino-based product, and found herself relying on imported formula. 

Jerri Janelle Rayburg and her two children 

"My formula's being shipped in from Switzerland," Rayburg told FOX Business. "There shouldn't be any reason why you are saying that we can't get formulas from other countries, especially when they are just as good."

Moms like Rayburg are still resorting to Facebook groups, crowd-sourcing platforms and even tracking sites to secure formula. On many occasions, Rayburg meets up with locals to get samples and also ships out formula that she didn’t or couldn’t use to other moms in need. Other times, she relies on text messages from, a free website that helps families track down baby formula. 

She is not the only one who still taps into resources like these to feed her baby.

Ken, founder of, says that the site still sees a large amount of traction today, six months after he built it. 

"I'm still a little shocked by how many users we are seeing every day considering that we don't do any advertisements," Ken told FOX Business. "I would have expected 10 or 20 a day, but we're still receiving, well over 150 a day." 

The tracking website allows users to find specific formulas in their region by signing up with a phone number and ZIP code. Once the product becomes available, the user will receive a text message. 

Baby formula stock at a Walmart in Raleigh, North Carolina, on June 2, 2022. (Reuters/Arriana Mclymore/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

As a new father and computer programmer, Ken took on the initiative as a side project for friends and family after realizing how many baby formulas exist on the market, with many catering to specific needs. He never anticipated that 500 sign-ups within the first few weeks would surpass 100,000 sign-ups several months later. 

"While we might say the national average is up, that doesn't mean that the formula that you need, that your specific child needs is in stock," Ken said. "That's where the problem still is."

Empirical evidence from his ZIP code data suggests that formula is being shipped in batches by region to stock up stores, which is causing product inventory to dial back in the gaps of time in between. 

In addition, Ken still receives about 10 emails per day from mothers who are looking to re-subscribe to the text messages after opting out earlier on because they need formula again. 

"It’s causing more issues not only for moms, but for people who need it to be able to live every single day," Rayburg said. 


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