For more than two months, Mary Salvador has desperately searched for baby formula wherever it’s available.

Due to a nationwide shortage, the 30-year-old Houston mom has been struggling to find food for her 3-month-old child. She’s resorted to scouring for sellers on Facebook, where she says she runs the risk of being scammed or buying potentially harmful formula that’s been tampered with.

“The ones who cannot give breast milk, we are the ones that are having the most difficulties,” the Houston mom said over Facebook Messenger. “Hopefully something can be done about this.”

Like other parts of the country, Houston has seen its formula availability plummet since late last year. As of April 3, Houston was one of 12 major metro areas with an out-of-stock rate higher than 40 percent, according to Datasembly.

Demand for formula was already high, but now it’s in short supply across the US due to supply chain issues from the COVID-19 pandemic. CBS News reported that manufacturers are struggling to procure key ingredients, experiencing packaging hangups and seeing labor shortages.

Supplies imported when US health officials warned parents in mid-February not to use three popular powdered infant formulas that investigators linked to bacterial contamination. Abbott voluntarily recalled the powder formulas Similac, Alimentum and EleCare, which are manufactured at the Michigan plant.

Now as parents go to grocery stores to stock up, they’re met with empty shelves or limited amounts available.

Major retailers like Target, Walgreens, Kroger, and CVS have begun rationing their formula, forcing parents like Salvador to turn to private sellers to keep their newborns fed, according to The Washington Post.

A Walmart spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that, at the request of the FDA, shoppers are now only allowed to purchase five containers of formula each day. That said, there does not appear to be a restriction on the company’s online marketplace.

Kroger’s online marketplace only allows customers to purchase four containers of baby formula, while Target and CVS also have quantity restrictions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.