What led to the U.S. baby formula shortage − and how officials are trying to prevent it from happening again
Parents across the U.S. are still scrambling to find baby formula after a national product recall triggered empty store shelves, higher prices and retailers limiting sales of scarce products.
"You get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach because we had a can that had been recalled and it was empty, we had just finished it," said Amy Dolan, a mother of three in New Jersey. "And, you know, I'm sitting there thinking, oh my God, what have I given my child?"
Abbott, the nation's biggest infant formula maker, recalled several products earlier this year and halted production at its Michigan manufacturing plant for several months after bacteria was found at the site. Four infants who consumed formula produced at the facility got sick with an infection. Two of those infants died.
"It's kind of like a perfect storm of so many terrible things happening and No. 1, should never have happened in the first place and we could have absolutely prevented it," said Shazi Visram, founder and CEO of Healthybaby.
More than 40% of baby formula in the U.S. was out of stock at the beginning of May and the problem has continued, according to Datasembly, a retail tracking group.
And it wasn't just a factory shutdown that led to the crisis. America's strict formula import regulations and a nutritional program for low-income families may have contributed to the disaster.
But some signs of progress suggest the crisis could be easing. The Food and Drug Administration has since eased regulations on imports from abroad and President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to increase baby formula manufacturing.
So what led to the baby formula crisis in the U.S. in the first place and how can the nation prevent another disaster? Watch the video to learn more.
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