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.
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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.