The nationwide baby formula shortage is far from over, with nearly one-third of all formula in the U.S. still not stocked, according to a report.
The Daily Mail reported Saturday that the country is still experiencing a sizeable shortage of formula nationwide. The outlet reported a 30% out-of-stock rate nationwide, citing data from the week ending July 24. That number was higher than in previous weeks, indicating that the shortage may have worsened this month.
“The nation reported a 30 percent out-of-stock rate on Friday, based on data from the week ended July 24,” the Daily Mail reported Saturday. “The week prior, ending July 17, the out-of-stock rate was 32 percent.”
“Families in Arizona and Wyoming have been hardest hit by the shortage with out-of-stock rates at 44 percent and 42 percent, respectively,” the outlet added. A PBS NewsHour report Thursday noted that the latest data show that stock levels are the lowest since the formula crisis began in February.
The numbers reported by the Daily Mail are also an increase from numbers earlier this month. According to market research firm IRI, as reported by the New York Post last week, the nationwide out-of-stock rate for baby formula stood at 28.3% for the week ending July 10. That number was a slight decline from the week ending July 3, when the out-of-stock rate stood at 29.5%. But both of those figures were higher than the 23.7% out-of-stock rate reported for the week ending May 22, when the shortage dominated national headlines, the Post reported.
The normal out-of-stock rate from before the COVID-19 pandemic was between just 5-7%, the Post noted.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is continuing to import formula from Europe in an effort to make up the supply gap. The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that five more flights of baby formula were scheduled for the week of July 18, bringing the equivalent of 6.8 million bottles of formula to the United States.
“By July 24, Operation Fly Formula flights will have completed 53 flights and imported more than 61 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of infant formula,” HHS said in a statement. The latest flights, which were scheduled for July 21 and 22, included more than 70,000 pounds of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula, the equivalent of more than 802,000 8-ounce bottles of formula, from Switzerland, as The Daily Wire reported.
French formula maker Danone also said this week that it had already shipped 750,000 cans of its Aptamil brand of formula to the U.S., and would be sending another 550,000 cans of formula from New Zealand, which was expected to arrive in August, Reuters reported. Danone said it was also sending another 500,000 cans of its specialty formula, Neocate.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Abbott formula plant at the center of the shortage is finally re-opened, though supplies are still expected to be strained until next month. The Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan, initially re-opened on June 4 in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration, after being closed for months as part of a voluntary recall of several of its specialty formulas. But just days later, severe thunderstorms and heavy rains caused flooding in the area of the plant, forcing it to close once again. The plant re-opened on July 10.