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US faces dramatic baby formula shortage caused by inflation, product recall: France 24

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-05-18 13:55
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Shelves for baby and toddler formula are partially empty, as the quantity a shopper can buy is limited, amid continuing nationwide shortages, at a grocery store in Medford, Massachusetts, US, May 17, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

PARIS - The United States is facing a severe nationwide shortage of baby formula caused by rampant inflation to a massive recall of products possibly contaminated by the rare but lethal bacterium Cronobacter sakazakii, French state-owned television channel France 24 has reported.

According to France 24, almost 40 percent of common baby formula brands were sold out nationwide during the week starting April 24.

In the United States, powdered milk is an essential part of the diet of 75 percent of babies over the age of 6 months. This means the shortage could well leave a significant mark on children's future development.

The crisis has intensified over the past year due to global factors, said the report, adding that the 2021 coronavirus lockdown snarled the global supply chains, affecting baby powder productions.

Milk powder supplies had fallen by just 10 percent during that period, and by January 2022, supplies had dropped 20 percent, it said.

Moreover, the re-emerging inflation also exacerbated the baby powder shortage.

Some economists had warned that the US administration pumping in extra money beyond its economy's spare capacity would fuel inflation, with too much money chasing too few goods.

Also, when baby formula prices are expected to rise, families tend to stock up massively, since it's hard to find substitutes, which caught manufacturers off-guard.

A recent food safety scandal has made the crisis even more acute, the report said, referring to the mass recall of Abbott Nutrition products.

The US Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to avoid some of their baby formulas following the discovery of a possible link between Abbott formulas and bacterial infections in four babies.

The Abbott recall was especially damaging because the company provides free formula across America to people who struggle to pay.

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