United States: infants hospitalized due to shortage of infant formula

United States: infants hospitalized due to shortage of infant formula


Finding powdered milk on supermarket shelves has become near impossible for many people living in the United States. After the hospitalization of several newborns due to this shortage, the government reacted by invoking a particular law.

An unobtainable milk powder

Infant milk sometimes makes the headlines. In 2021, for example, a company claimed to have created the first human breast milk from cultured cells. In 2019, a study tried to show that breastfeeding babies instead of giving them powdered milk could reduce the risk of childhood obesity by a quarter. According to an article published by Business Insider on May 22, 2022, a shortage of baby milk powder has been in place for several months in the United States.

On site, many citizens hardly find this product on the shelves of supermarkets and other stores. The main cause of this problem is the closure of a factory of the firm Abbott, one of the giants of the sector. The Covid-19 pandemic has indeed caused a lack of staff and supply difficulties. Unfortunately, this shortage has adverse effects that reverberate at the level of health facilities. Indeed, no less than four infants were admitted to hospital in the state of South Carolina.

President Joe Biden invoked a law

According to doctors at the Medical University of South Carolina, the newborns were admitted due to nutritional deficiencies. Other hospitalizations of the same kind have been observed, in establishments located in Atlanta (Georgia) and Memphis (Tennessee). Specialists explained that pediatric dieticians are currently working on developing a formula that can work for each child’s needs. In the meantime, the only safe way today to obtain powdered milk is to place an order on the Internet. Nevertheless, prices have increased and households cannot always afford such a purchase.

In a May 18, 2022 statement, the White House spoke about the matter. President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA), a law aimed at helping companies make powdered baby milk. Specifically, it involves asking these companies to prioritize key infant formula ingredients. This should have the effect of both increasing production and speeding up supply chains.