That rate increased by another 9 percentage points in just three weeks in April and now stands at 40%, statistics show. In six states – Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Texas and Tennessee – more than half of the baby formula was completely sold out during the week of April 24, Datasembly reported.
And although seven states had between 40-50% of baby formula products in stock in early April, 26 states are now struggling with supplies.
“Added to this problem are supply chain problems, product recalls and historical inflation,” Datasembly CEO Ben Reich said. “Unfortunately, given the unprecedented volatility of this category, we expect the baby formula to continue to be one of the most affected products on the market.”
CVS and Walgreens have confirmed that it limits customers nationwide to three formulas for young children and infants per transaction. “We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer requirements,” Walgreens said in a statement to CNN Business.
A Target spokesman confirmed that the retailer had limited the purchase of baby formulas to four units per customer for online shopping. There is no limit to the number of units that can be purchased in person at Target stores, the company says.
Walmart did not immediately respond to CNN Business’s request for comment.
The shortage was exacerbated by the closure of the Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan, by the Food and Drug Administration. Abbott is a major manufacturer of baby formulas.
Abbott said the former employee was fired for “serious violations of Abbott’s food safety policy” and would investigate the new allegations.
“After the dismissal, the former employee, through his lawyer, made new, new and escalating allegations to a number of bodies,” a spokesman for Abbott said in a statement.
A spokesman for Abbott also said that products tested for Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella were negative, and that no salmonella was found in the Sturgis facility during the investigation.
“Cronobacter sakazakii found during environmental testing during the investigation was in areas not in contact with our facility’s products in Sturgis and was not associated with two available patient samples or any other known infant disease,” a spokesman said.
Abbott told CNN in a statement on Saturday works closely with the FDA to continue operations at its Michigan plant.
“We continue to make progress on corrective action and will take further action as we work to address issues related to the recent recall. In the meantime, we are working to increase the supply of infant formulas by prioritizing the production of infant formulas in our facilities.” statement to CNN Business.