Enfamil and Gerber are working to help address the baby formula shortage

Enfamil and Gerber are working to help address the baby formula shortage

May 19, 2022

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Update by CB: Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act and has approved formula imports to help increase the domestic supply. Added to the efforts by manufacturers, this will hopefully help address the formula shortage.

However, there may be some good news on the horizon. Not only have Abbott and the FDA struck an agreement to reopen Sturgis, Nestlé (Gerber and Alfamino) and Mead Johnson (Enfamil) are removing restriction to allow their supplies to get out to shelves everywhere. That means flying formula in from overseas, approving unlimited overtime so staff can get formula packed and sending half full trucks out to eliminate delays.

Abbott’s chief competitors — Nestlé and Mead Johnson — have also been taking dramatic measures to replace the shortfall that reached a record high 43% at the beginning of May.

Mead Johnson, which produces Enfamil at three locations in the US, told Reuters that it has granted “unlimited overtime” to staff in order to boost production.

“We normally might pack an entire truck before we ship it. For timeliness, we’re not doing that. We’re packing it with as much product as we have and then we’re just getting it out the door,” a company executive told Reuters.

Enfamil now represents half the US formula market, up from roughly a third before the shortages began. Taken together the leading three companies represent nearly 90% of the US baby formula market.

Nestlé, which makes Gerber and Alfamino formulas, said Tuesday it was accelerating production in Switzerland and the Netherlands and flying formula to the US from Europe.

In a statement to Insider, the company said it was prioritizing deliveries to hospitals, with a particular emphasis on formulas made for babies who have allergies to cow’s milk protein.

The increased imports follow a White House announcement last week calling on the FDA to simplify the process of importing baby formula from foreign factories. Only about 2% of formula consumed in the US is normally imported.

In a press call on Monday night, senior administration officials said the federal government is offering logistical support to move formula supplies from factories and ports to store shelves, and that the timing is expected to take “a couple of weeks.”

[From The Insider]

I am so angry about this whole situation. Abbott is playing the martyr with their statement about their part in the shortage, “We know millions of parents and caregivers depend on us and we’re deeply sorry that our voluntary recall worsened the nationwide formula shortage.” The bacterial infection that sparked the recall was responsible for two deaths, so ‘voluntary’ is doing some heaving lifting there. These three companies that are riding to save us now, they make up 90% of the baby formula market. So any shortage we have is a result of their monopoly. In addition, they cornered the hospital market, creating a dependency for virtually all new parents who couldn’t breastfeed. They also hold the WIC contracts, making it almost impossible for those who need food assistance to find formula for their babies because they have to buy from these three manufacturers who are sold out. And don’t get me started on the irony of Nestlé doing anything to “save” a baby formula shortage. So are these corporations doing something to help the situation? Sure. But I promise you they’ll make their money back because Biden won’t let babies starve and these three already hold the government contracts. And this is all from a crisis they created.

For what it’s worth, US and European standards for formulas are different, mainly in lactose allowances. That’s why it’s taken this long to bring in formula from overseas. The good news is there is some hope because this has been terrifying for parents right now. We freaked out over the possibility of not having a roll of toilet paper, imagine going to five stores and not finding a single carton of food for your infant child. These measures are already happening so help should be on the way. Regulations are in place to limit quantity purchases and hospitals will be the first priority. Hopefully some of you can breathe a little easier tonight.

— Successful Black Parenting™️ (@BlackParenting1) May 16, 2022

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