Baby Formula Shortage Hits Walgreens as Rationing Begins

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
April 11, 2022 Updated: April 11, 2022

Walgreens announced that it would start to ration baby formula amid a reported U.S.-wide shortage.

The drugstore chain said in a statement to news outlets that it will limit customers to three infant and toddler formula products per sale due to “increased demand and various supplier issues.”

“Due to increased demand and various supplier issues, infant and toddler formulas are seeing constraint across the country,” the Walgreens statement read. “We put into effect purchase limits of three per transaction on all infant and toddler formula to help improve inventory. We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands.”

Analytics firm Datasembly recently said that nearly 30 percent of popular baby formula brands might already be sold out. The firm tracked baby formula stock at more than 11,000 stores across the United States before coming to that conclusion.

“Inflation, supply chain shortages, and product recalls have brought an unprecedented amount of volatility to the category, and we expect to continue to see baby formula as one of the most affected categories in the market,” Datasembly CEO Ben Reich told USA Today on Monday.

Other than Walgreens, CVS Health suggested that it, too, is having trouble stocking its shelves with enough baby formula.

“Product supply challenges are currently impacting most of the retail industry,” the company told USA Today. “We’re continuing to work with our national brand baby formula vendors to address this issue and we regret any inconvenience that our customers may be experiencing.”

Nearly 75 percent of infants receive at least some formula by six months of age, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

“This is a shocking number that you don’t see for other categories,” Reich told CBS News.

The issue may partially stem from an Abbott Nutrition recall in mid-February for lots of Similac and other formula products that were made at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers not to use the recalled products that were made at the Sturgis plant after finding the facility was unsanitary.

The FDA said it is investigating a connection between infants who were sickened with Cronobacter sakazakii and consumed formula that was made at the Michigan factory. While Cronobacter infections are ill, according to the CDC, they can make infants seriously ill.

In January, meanwhile, Enfamil said it was dealing with a significant surge in demand for baby formula nationwide.

“We have taken steps to ramp up production and are currently shipping 50 percent more product, to address issues as fast as possible,” a spokesperson for Reckitt, which makes Enfamil formula, told news outlets at the time.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.