‘Perfect storm’ led to baby formula shortage, says local official

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:08 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - It has been hard to find baby formula on north country shelves. Those who help parents say the problem is a result of a perfect storm of factors.

“There were some supply chain issues with ingredients, specific ingredients that was needed. There was a formula recall in February. Shipping challenges, so I think it’s just a perfect storm that unfortunately has reached us here in the north country,” said Angel Carter, WIC director, North Country Family Health Center.

A majority of the baby formula manufactured in the United States is made by just two companies. With one of the two having a recall in February, parents across the north country have been struggling to find the formula they need to feed their children.

“Oswego, they’re going to Syracuse, Oswego, St. Lawrence County. They’re driving all over the place to find the formula,” said Carter.

The shortages have risen to what some are calling a “crisis level” in several states across the country. Governor Kathy Hochul announced Thursday afternoon the available resources for families across the state dealing with the shortages.

“We have a vendor management that has been working really closely with us. They spend a lot of time on the phone calling the vendors trying to find it and then directing our families to that store specifically,” said Carter.

We spoke with Melinda Gault from the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County. She said although they do not have formula on their shelves currently, it is because there is no demand for it. However, if an order was needed to be placed, they are not sure when or where they would be able to get the formula.

“Tips that we’ve been sharing is that again, number one, contacting their health care provider, see if they have an alternative formula idea. Sometimes doctor’s offices also have samples. Contacting local food pantries, because they have had some supply available as well,” said Carter.

Abbott Nutrition, one of the two major manufacturers of baby formula in the U.S. says that it could take up to 10 weeks for them to get their formula stock back to normal.

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