Baby formula crisis WORSENS as out-of-stock levels hit 70%: Parents accuse Biden of forgetting about them and mom struggling to feed twins says ‘I’m sure these politicians’ babies eat’
- The US reported a 70% out-of-stock rate for formula nationwide, based on data from the week ended July 24
- Rhode Island and Vermont reported the highest out-of-stock rates in the country, at 79% and 78% respectively
- Biden tried to alleviate the crisis by making it it easier for foreign manufacturers to get shipments into the US
- Regardless, parents struggling to feed their babies feel like the Administration ‘just forgot’ about the crisis
- Amber Bergeron, who took to Facebook about the hardships of finding formula for her preemie twins, has described the ongoing crisis as ‘disgusting,’ noting she is ‘sure these politicians’ babies eat
- Chris Arroyo, whose daughter needs a speciality formula, said he is frustrated that the Administration keeps giving families the vague timeline of ‘upcoming weeks’ when discussing solutions to the ongoing shortage
- The rising out-of-stock rates come as it was revealed Abbott Laboratories, the largest formula producer in the US, was hit with another lawsuit this week by a parent alleging their products contributed to a baby death
- A new report also revealed the FDA started probing the factory after a stun gun was deployed at the facility and a fed-up employee complained about plant safety
By NATASHA ANDERSON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
The nationwide baby formula shortage has worsened with 70 percent of all brands reported out-of-stock, despite President Joe Biden‘s efforts to make infant milk more accessible.
Families in Rhode Island and Vermont have been hardest hit by the shortage with out-of-stock rates at 79 percent and 78 percent, respectively.
Biden and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have made it easier for foreign manufacturers to get shipments into the country, and appealed to companies such as Nestle and Reckitt to step up production.
French consumer goods company Danone on Wednesday said it had shipped more than 750,000 cans of its flagship Aptamil baby formula to the U.S. from Europe, with another 550,000 cans on the way.
However, parents struggling to feed their children have slammed the administration, with one Louisiana mom alleging it seems like those in power ‘just forgot’ about the ongoing crisis.
Amber Bergeron, who took to Facebook about the hardships of finding formula for her preemie twins, has described the ongoing crisis as ‘disgusting,’ noting she is ‘sure these politicians’ babies eat.’
The nationwide baby formula shortage has worsened with almost 70 percent of all brands reported out-of-stock, despite President Joe Biden’s efforts to make infant milk more accessible
Amber Bergeron, who took to Facebook about the hardships of finding formula for her preemie twins Sky and Storm (pictured), has described the ongoing crisis as ‘disgusting,’ noting she is ‘sure these politicians’ babies eat’
In-stock rates of infant formula remain far below normal levels, despite recent trends showing a rise in formula inventory.
The nation reported a 70 percent out-of-stock rate on Friday, based on data from the week ended July 24. The week prior, ending July 17, the out-of-stock rate was 68.67 percent.
Biden’s solution to the ongoing shortage has been to fly in foreign formula to try to plug the gap, but the 802,446 bottles that arrive per shipment barely line the stomachs of the 3 million babies born every year.
Danone, who has agreed to supply 1.3 million cans of Aptamil to the U.S., shipped out more than 750,000 this week. The initial shipments are already on shelves and online at Walgreens, Safeway and some other retailers.
The additional 550,000 cans that are en route from New Zealand will likely be available in August, the company claims.
Danone also imported more than 500,000 cans of Neocate, a specialized medical baby formula.
The Biden Administration revealed last week that as of July 24, the Operation Fly Formula program has transported the equivalent of 61 million 8-ounce bottles of formula into the U.S.
The U.S. reported a 69.7 percent out-of-stock rate on Friday, based on data from the week ended July 24
Rhode Island is reporting the highest out-of-stock rate in the nation at 79.3 percent
Vermont came in second with an out-of-stock rate of 71.5 percent
But Bergeron – like many other parents – fears the efforts aren’t enough.
‘We were put in a position that no mothers should be put in,’ she previously told Fox News. ‘We feel helpless. We feel like, as a community, we are trying to take care of this instead of [the right people] stepping in.
‘People are not paying attention to what’s really going on here and the severity of it, but it’s still happening. It’s like they just forgot.’
Bergeron’s family was first impacted by the shortage shortly after her twins Sky and Storm were born on April 10, four weeks premature.
She was unable to find the formula brand that provided the higher nutrition levels necessary for preemie babies and was forced to switch her twins to another less sufficient product.
After she ran out of formula, she resorted to buying the product from another mom she met on Facebook.
‘Formula is not something that should be gone without and the fact that we have had problems feeding our babies and it’s going on nationally, that’s ridiculous,’ she said.
‘That’s disgusting to me because I’m sure these politicians’ babies eat. I’m sure they find a way.’
The Arroyo family, whose two-year-old daughter Ellie solely relies on the Abbott Nutrition formula EleCare, has been struggling to find food for their toddler since early 2022. Chris and Jillian Arroyo are pictured with their daughter
‘Our situation has not changed at all,’ Jillian Arroyo said Wednesday. Chris added he was frustrated at the Biden Administration for giving families the vague timeline of ‘upcoming weeks,’ when discussing solutions to the shortage. Ellie is pictured at a park
Similarly, a Virginia family was forced to feed their toddler expired infant formula amid the worsening shortage.
The Arroyo family, whose two-year-old daughter Ellie solely relies on the Abbott Nutrition formula EleCare, has been struggling to find food for their toddler since early 2022.
‘Our situation has not changed at all,’ Jillian Arroyo told WUSA-TV on Wednesday. ‘We are still feeding our child expired formula because that is what we have.’
Jillian and her husband, Chris – who first shared their story with DailyMail.com in May – say they have been unable to track down EleCare for Ellie.
The couple had reached out to their local pharmacies, grocers and pediatrician, but were unsuccessful in getting Ellie the food she needs.
Chris says he is frustrated at the Biden Administration for giving families the vague timeline of ‘upcoming weeks,’ when discussing solutions to the shortage.
‘I feel like at this rate we are going to continue talking about this until December,’ he said.
‘We feel very trapped,’ Jillian added.
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EleCare is one of the products made by Abbott Laboratories, which controlled 40 percent of the U.S. infant formula market before it shuttered its Sturgis, Michigan factory in February.
The manufacturer issued a recall dozens of brands of baby formula in February and shutdown its plant after reports of fatal bacterial infections in two babies who had consumed products made at the facility.
The plant closure, coupled with supply chain disruptions and stockpiling during COVID-19 shutdowns, led to a country-wide baby formula shortage.
Abbott resumed production at its Sturgis facility earlier this month, prioritizing the manufacturing of its speciality formulas, including EleCare.
Jillian claims Abbott had contacted their family back in June, offering to send a free case of EleCare to them once production was back up and running.
However, as of Wednesday, they had not yet received the formula.
Bare shelves of baby formula at Target in Flower Mound, Texas on Friday, July 29
A drug store limiting purchase quantities of baby formula is pictured on Thursday
Abbott’s Michigan plant was closed in February after the FDA began investigating four bacterial infections among infants who consumed powdered formula from the plant. Two of the babies died.
The company says its products have not been directly linked to the infections, which involved different bacterial strains.
FDA inspectors eventually uncovered a host of violations at the plant, including bacterial contamination, a leaky roof and lax safety protocols.
Internal Abbott employee communications revealed the whistleblower whose complaint about safety launched the FDA probe decided to speak out after a worker deployed a stun gun in the office.
The alleged incident took place in May 2020 inside the quality services department. Employees reported the sound electric shock zipping through the office, a scathing report by The Detroit News unveiled this week.
The employee who deployed the taser allegedly promised it was a bug zapper before firing the weapon a second time.
‘It’s definitely a stun gun and not a bug zapper,’ one staffer wrote in an internal communication.
Another employee sent an email to Abbott management alerting them of a ‘possible weapon’ in the office, saying: ‘Since, whatever this is, is being played with openly, I am concerned someone is going to get hurt.’
The stun gun incident allegedly gave the whistleblower the courage to report other ongoing safety issues at the plant, including cleaning practices that were ‘inadequate in countless ways’ and equipment that was ‘failing and in need of repair.’
Several of the concerns cited in the whistleblower’s report were later corroborated by the FDA investigation that led to the plant’s closure from February 2022 through early June.
Abbott’s Michigan plant (pictured) was closed in February after the FDA began investigating four bacterial infections among infants who consumed powdered formula from the plant. Two of the babies died. It was revealed this week that the FDA probe was launched after an Abbott whistleblower decided to speak out in wake of a worker deploying a stun gun in the office
Also this week, Abbott was hit with another lawsuit after North Carolina mother Brianna Anthony claimed the company’s Similac formula contributed to the September 2021 death of her pre-mature daughter, Reign.
Anthony claims Abbott misled parents into thinking Similac was safe for premature babies. She gave birth to Reign in June 2021 at only 23 weeks.
Reign was ‘relatively healthy’ at her birth, but still needed a feeding tube and breathing machine, the suit alleges.
Anthony claims Reign’s doctors switched her to Similac, which she protested due to her own independent research, believing the product was safe. They were reportedly trying to make Reign gain weight faster because she was born just barely over 1lb.
Similac ’caused the injured infant to develop Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), a life-threatening and potentially deadly intestinal disease,’ the filing states.
Reign’s body started retaining fluid and her organs shut down. She died just a few days later.
The lawsuit cites various studies claiming baby formulas based on cow’s milk, like Similac, are more likely to cause NEC in premature infants.
‘The products should have had stronger and clearer warnings or should not have been sold in the market,’ the compliant reads.
Abbott was hit with another lawsuit after North Carolina mother Brianna Anthony claimed the company’s Similac formula contributed to the September 2021 death of her daughter, Reign
Abbott responded to the lawsuit Friday in a statement to WSOC-TV saying the firm was ‘sorry to hear this and our hearts go out to this family,’ but also reiterating they spend ample time researching, developing and testing products.
‘Abbott has spent decades researching, developing, testing and producing formulas and fortifiers for premature infants, and countless infants have benefitted tremendously from these products,’ the statement read.
‘These allegations are without merit, advancing a theory promoted by plaintiffs’ lawyers rather than the medical community, which considers these products part of the standard of care for premature infants.’
News of the lawsuit comes after the FDA revealed late last month it had launched an investigation into another infant death that allegedly occurred in January. The agency was alerted about the death in a consumer complaint filed June 10.
The FDA didn’t specify which Abbott product the child allegedly consumed or where the baby formula was produced, but did note the investigation was still in the preliminary stage.
An Abbott spokesperson told DailyMail.com on June 22 the company received ‘limited product and clinical information’ to evaluate the case and, at this time, there are ‘no conclusions’ and ‘no evidence to suggest a causal relationship’ between Abbott products and the reported infant death.
Almost barren formula shelves are pictured at a Walmart store on Thursday, June 28
The FDA had previously investigated nine reports of infant deaths – including seven that had not been made public prior to early June – between December 2021 and March 2022 that had allegedly been linked to baby formula.
The infant death reports were included in a list of consumer complaints issued to the FDA. The complaints were made public by eFoodAlert on June 8.
Two of the deaths listed in the complaints were numbered among the four confirmed cases of Cronobacter sakazakii identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The FDA reportedly discovered Cronobacter bacteria at the Sturgis plant.
An Abbott spokesperson told DailyMail.com in May that ‘thorough investigation’ by the FDA and Abbott revealed ‘infant formula produced at our Sturgis facility is not the likely source of infection in the reported cases and that there was not an outbreak caused by products from the facility’.
The other seven deaths were reported to the FDA its consumer complaint system and two mentioned Salmonella in the complaint description.
The FDA has said that ‘despite extensive investigation’ it could not find enough evidence to ‘not rule in or rule out a definitive link’ between the seven infant deaths and Abbott’s product.
Of the complaints related to the nine infant deaths, the FDA reported that only two were associated with the Abbott Nutrition Sturgis plant investigation, and despite extensive investigation the evidence does not rule in or rule out a definitive link between these infant deaths and the product produced at Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis plan
- How a stun gun incident at Abbott’s Michigan plant led to a nationwide baby formula recall
- Charlotte woman files lawsuit against Abbott alleging formula contributed to baby’s death – WSOC TV
- Louisiana mom of twin preemies who gets baby formula via Facebook says people ‘forgot’ about shortage | Fox News
- Virginia families says infant formula shortage is not over | wusa9.com
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