Baby Formula Shortage: The Latest Biden Crisis
Supply chain disruptions in recent months have led to shortages of many products we once typically purchased with ease. The present widespread shortage of baby formula, however, presents a disturbing new indicator of the economy’s disorder.
According to Datasembly, 43 percent of major baby food brands were out of stock for the week ending on May 8. In some states, the percentage was even higher.
As stocks of formula deplete, shelves have emptied, prices have spiked, and some retailers have limited the amounts customers can purchase.
Parents of infants need no explanation about the seriousness of this situation. Many babies depend on formula for food, limiting the possibility of substitutions when none is to be had. The shortage can be particularly alarming for parents whose babies require specialty formulas due to allergies or other special needs.
And just as with the current widespread inflation in prices of food, energy, and other essentials, lower-income households can be hit hardest by surging formula prices. The U.S. Surgeon General’s office estimates that families typically spend $1,200 to $1,500 on infant formula in the first year.
The formula shortage is acute now but not unexpected. Out-of-stock rates have been climbing for months. Furthermore, the formula manufacturer Abbott Nutrition shut down its factory in Sturgis, Michigan, and recalled some of its products in February after reports of hospitalizations and deaths of infants. These actions reduced supply.
Despite these warning signs, the Biden Administration appears to have been taken by surprise, just as it has with most of the other crises taking place under its watch. In fact, when asked who was running point on the issue in the White House on May 11, incoming Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre laughed and said she did not know.