KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH-AM covering local news from Houston and across Texas.

 

Some Families Still Struggle to Find Baby Formula

Some parents are still trying to get baby formula.

For the overwhelming majority of parents, the shortfalls triggered by a plant closure in Sturgis, Michigan last Spring and product recall have been resolved, but when your baby needs only one food to survive and you see unstocked shelves in stores it can be panic-inducing. Highly-specialized hypoallergenic and lactose free powder varieties are the kinds most commonly cited for shortfalls and mostly in rural areas.

Reckitt Benckiser is the manufacturer of most baby formula, including Enfamil, the most popular brand, says the shortages could continue into next Spring. The Biden Administration took extraordinary steps to fly stock in from Europe, invoking the Defense Production Act to get supplies on shelves and allowing foreign manufacture. Mid-summer, at the height of the crisis, more than 40% of formula was out of stock, as of mid-November the number having dropped to 12.5%.

Experts say in those critical months of child development when formula is a necessity and not an option seeing half-stocked shelves can trigger panic-buying and hoarding, which leaves store shelves less-stocked for the next parents who come shopping, who panic buy and hoard. It’s a vicious consumer cycle. Stores still limit quantities of products families can purchase. And now inflationary pressures pile on the misery for desperate parents, the average cost up 18% year over year.

The breakdown of the system in a wealthy Western nation led to an investigation into what went wrong. An independent firm, Reagan Udall, examined the inner workings of the Food a Drug Administration, releasing a blistering report that identified problems with industry protocols up and down. The agency lacks a clearly identified mission, hasn’t developed a leadership model that works, and consistently fails to respond to crisis with a sense of urgency. They conclude with a need for a major overhaul of an essential service critical to public safety.

photo: Getty Images


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