OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – This is a national issue that is hitting families in Oklahoma hard. The shortage of infant formula means that retail shelves are empty or half full in many cases.
KFOR spoke to a mother in the metro who needs to have some type of formula for her baby, and her extended family needs to get it for her.
Subway mum, Kelsey Hill says life before she found out her 4-month-old, Everleigh, has cow’s milk protein intolerance was tough.
“She was just crying about 90% of the time she was awake because she was so uncomfortable and had a rash on her face, it was really awful,” Hill said.
Because of this intolerance, she has to buy a hypoallergenic formula for little Everleigh.
“There are serious repercussions for her not having that kind of formula,” Hill said.
So when Kelsey started seeing empty shelves at local supermarkets, she turned to the web.
“Finding the formula has now become almost a part-time job,” Hill said.
According to retail software company, Datasembly, the national out-of-stock rate for infant formula reached 43% last week, up 10% from last month’s average.
“We even had to go so far as to buy formula from one of the major retailers and ask our family members to pick it up in other states. That’s how far we had to go to feed her,” Hill said.
Experts blame supply chain issues and labor shortages. There has also been a nationwide recall of some Abbott products, a leading formula producer.
“We had gotten boxes of formula from the allergist’s office and they were all recalled except for one box,” Hill said.
Child Crisis Services officials say the shelves in the storage room would normally be full, but that is not the case.
“We are seeing a shortage of infant formula, customers are calling to ask if we have what they need,” said Allison Parker of Infant Crisis Services.
They warn mothers not to stretch current supplies of infant formula by watering it down.
“Consider generics. Don’t worry about the brand name. They are the same, they contain the same ingredients and the same nutrients. It’s okay to do credits, that’s totally fine,” Parker said.
The FDA released a statement today saying, “Our teams have been working tirelessly to resolve and mitigate the supply issues.”
Officials say they are taking steps to streamline production permits and the import process to try to increase supplies.
Hill hopes this shortage will be over soon.
“I just hope we get to the point where we don’t have to keep fighting and searching and hunting just to be able to feed our children,” Hill said.
Hill tells KFOR that she has seen unscrupulous people online trying to sell infant formula at 2 or 3 times the original price.
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