Families continue to find empty shelves during frantic search for baby formula

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 10:24 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - While some families were searching for water during the recent water crisis, others were on the desperate hunt for baby formula. It’s a crisis that has been in the background for months. Local grocers can’t keep the few supplies they receive in stock.

“There’s none to be found,” said Ashley Hutson.

Finding baby formula at metro area grocery stores is a constant problem for Hutson. She needs it for her 11-month-old niece. Her sister has enlisted family members to pick up the coveted formula whenever they can.

“The baby formula you can’t find nowhere, and as soon as you do you’d better get it because if not it’s gone and babies need it until they’re at least a year old,” said Hutson.

Parents have been on the hunt for formula since May. Thursday calls to local stores revealed unfilled orders and manufacturers being out of stock. Supplies go quickly when shipments arrive. The most in-demand formulas are limited in supply and sell out quickly.

According to an Associated Press report, U.S. inventories of baby formula have been improving, hitting in-stock rates above 80 percent last week, an increase from 69 percent in mid-July. White House officials said the U.S. has imported the equivalent of more than 80 million bottles of formula since May. That is little consolation for families still unable to find it.

“I want her healthy you know. She’s my niece,” added Hutson. “I’ve got to take care of my niece.”

For families in the WIC or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program, the federal government is extending waivers, allowing substitutions for their regular formula.

MS Department of Health officials said it’s been greatly expanded, so there’s availability across the board.

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