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The White House sends a message of calm in the face of the shortage of infant milk: "It is a top priority"


The stock-out rate for formula in the US is around 40%, forcing hundreds of thousands of parents to travel miles to get food for their babies.

A sign warns of the purchase limit per customer for infant milk containers, this Wednesday in a store in Salt Lake City.Rick Bowmer (AP)

The infant formula supply crisis in the United States, which has dragged on since last year, is worsening by the day, to the point of forcing the White House to reassure hundreds of thousands of parents - many of whom travel long car journeys in search of stocks—, by assuring that “guaranteeing the supply of infant milk for all is a top priority” of the Administration presided over by Joe Biden.

For months, as a result of the disruption to supply chains, supermarkets and pharmacies across the country have struggled to stock enough baby formula, even though manufacturers say factories and labs are running at full capacity.

The stock-out rate for infant formula (or infant formula) hovered between 2% and 8% in the first half of 2021, but skyrocketed last July.

Between November 2021 and early April 2022, out of stock hovered around 31%, according to Datasembly data collected by various US media.

Added to a shortage that even paralyzed the activity of some sectors, such as the automotive industry, a perfect storm hit supermarkets at the beginning of the year, with a growing list of scarce products.

At the top of the list were infant formulas, whose scarcity was increasing, adding nine percentage points to the shortage rate in the first three weeks of April.

Now the percentage is around 40% in the country.

In six states, more than half of the available baby formula was completely sold out during the week of April 24, according to Datasembly tracking.

The shortage is especially acute in places like Tennessee, Missouri and Iowa.

The conjunction of several factors, including inflation at historical highs, the interruption of supply chains and the withdrawal of some products for health reasons, has left many American parents with nursing children out of stock.

The restrictions on purchases have been an immediate consequence: the large pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens confirmed that they have decided to limit each purchase to three containers per customer.

The large Target distribution chain, one of the most important in the country, has also limited the


purchase of these milks to four per customer.

Asked about it in her daily press conference, the White House spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, assured on Monday that the FDA, the English acronym for the federal Food and Drug Agency, ensures the adequate supply of the product.

That includes, Psaki said, citing the example of her own son, and her wanderings as a mother from store to store, "working with major manufacturers to ensure they ramp up production, optimize their supply lines, product sizes to expand capacity and prioritize the lines most in demand”.

Psaki stressed the need to speed up entry permits for imported products, as well as to guarantee the supply of specialized formulas, some of which are required in medical treatments.

The supply crisis, which has prompted images of empty shelves in supermarkets and pharmacies and an uneasy pilgrimage of parents in the hardest-hit states, has also been worsened by the recent FDA-ordered closure of a milk manufacturing plant. children's in Michigan, owned by one of the nation's leading producers.

The closure of the facility followed the withdrawal of three lines of that brand due to the potential presence of bacteria, including salmonella.

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Source: elparis

All life articles on 2022-05-11

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