The shortage of baby formula is getting worse across the country.

The shortage of baby formula is getting worse across the country.

The manufacturer of Ashley Hernandez’s favorite baby formula for her two daughters said it was out of stock on her website. Lists on eBay show that it can cost up to $ 120 per can. So when he was offered 10 cans for 40 40 by an online seller, he expressed his frustration.

“I have two children,” said Hernandez, 35, of Dallas. “I can’t find it. I can buy it today. I can pay in cash.”

Parents across the country are struggling to make up for the nationwide shortage of infant formula – a problem that has been exacerbated by the recent recall by baby food company Abbott Nutrition. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said at least four children were called back after being hospitalized with a bacterial infection and two died from eating its products.

“We recognize that our recent withdrawal has added to the already challenging situation of global supply shortages,” Abbott said in a statement last month. “We are working hard to help mothers, fathers and carers get high quality nutrition for their children.”

Now, many large retailers seeking to keep inventory safe are limiting how much baby formula their customers can buy.

Drug store chain CVS said in a statement that “following supplier challenges and increasing customer demand,” shopper stores and online per-purchase will be limited to three-child formula products.

Walgreens echoed that sentiment, saying in a statement that it had set a “three-item limit” in an effort to “help improve inventory.” Target said it has a limit of four items online but no limit in the store.

Costco, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday, had different caps on the formulas listed on its website.

Brian Dutmeyer, senior director of public policy at the National WIC Association, said on Saturday that “the unprecedented scope of this infant formula has serious consequences for children and new parents.” The non-profit organization provides food aid to women, infants and children across the country.

Mr Datmeier said Abbott Nutrition was a specialized provider for more than half of the WIC agencies across the country, meaning “this is not an isolated issue.”

“Every day, we hear from parents who are hurt, angry, worried and scared,” he said. “The lives of their infants are in danger.”

In retail stores, shelves are often empty. And parents are creating online Facebook groups to let each other know about repurchased inventory or bargaining – both are rare these days, Ms Hernandez said.

“It’s a nightmare,” he said.

In a Facebook group called “Baby Formula for Sale” on Saturday, a mother pleaded for a specific brand: “Looking for Similac NeoSure in the Arizona area! Help !! I’m almost out.”

“Unlike other food memories, the lack of supply of baby formula affects a large – or even special – source of nutrition for children,” Mr Dutmeyer said. Inadequate nutrition, he added, “can have long-term health implications.”

Datasembly, a retail software company, said that by April, about 31% of the nationwide stock of formula products had run out. In seven states – Connecticut, Delaware, Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington – the April 3 week rate was worse than 40 percent.

The decline is also putting a financial burden on families who are already suffering from rising inflation. Families typically spend up to 15 1,500 on infant formula in the first year, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office said on its website.

Mr Dutmeier said the deficiency was “especially severe for children who need special formulas to deal with allergies, gastrointestinal problems or metabolic disorders.”

Ms Hernandez said her daughters, one 6 months old and the other 3 years old, both needed such a special formula.

He sold 10 cans to the seller he texted but it will only last five or six weeks, he guessed. Ms Hernandez said the formula she usually buys was EleCare, one of the Abbott products recalled in February.

Affected products have already been removed from stores, but parents can check the condition of the product they need using online search through Abbott Nutrition.

The Infant Nutrition Council of America said in a statement that formula companies are “committed to ensuring the continued availability of infant formulas for every child.”

But Mr Dutmeyer said the products had not reached store shelves due to assurances from manufacturers about rapid production. “Every day as the crisis continues, parents become more anxious and worried about what they need to feed their children,” he said.

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