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Baby formula shortage puts stress on parents 

THUR. | 07-28-22 | OPINION

     Over the past few months, it has been reported publicly that there has been a shortage of baby formula. Due to business-related issues and setbacks that occurred during COVID-19, the shortage has begun to affect a substantial amount of North America. Most of the baby formula produced comes from three big brands: Similac, Nestlé and Gerber. After the recall of Abbott Laboratories' baby formula, things have not been the same. 

     On Feb. 17, 2022, Abbott Laboratories alongside the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided that it would be best to have a recall on Abbott´s instant formula and shut down its plant in Michigan after four reports were made about rare bacterial infections found in four infants. Although it has not been made clear if it was the formula that caused these infections, tragically, two out of the four babies died.  

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     Since then, there has been a decrease in the amount of formula produced as Abbott Laboratories is one of the largest formula producers in the country (other than Mead Johnson Nutrition and Nestlé USA).

     This detrimental situation has caused many formula products to be rationed in stores like CVS, Walgreens and Target. Customers are allowed to get no more than four containers of formula each. There are few beneficial options recommended to support those with infants at this time; some may suggest breastfeeding, but it may not be the best option and shouldn't be the only recommended source of nutrients for infants. 

     This issue should be taken into consideration because so many children are born every day, and the shelves in most stores aren't being restocked with formula due to the shortage. Many parents are under pressure and are trying to do all that they can to feed their children. It is important to save as much formula as possible considering this crisis could last up to eight weeks. 

     When I first heard about it, I thought that more couldve be done to prevent the shortage from happening. I think that it was a wise decision for Abbott to close down production and its plant, but I also think that if more had been done, the shortage wouldn't have happened. 

     For instance, the company could have tried to come up with solutions after getting inspected to see if it was their products that caused the infection found in the infants, as well as making more formula as soon as they could after everything was figured out. They could have also done a better job of explaining themselves to parents because many of them are more overwhelmed than they should've been.

     Since the shortage has become a public issue to the US and Canada, Abbott is being held accountable by many parents, but came to an agreement with the FDA and decided that they would do the best they could to get their products back on store shelves, although it will take some time before everything goes back to normal. 

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