Formula shortage continues to put parents on edge

Formula shelves at a Palm Beach County store on Sept. 16, 2022.jpg
Posted at 4:22 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 17:18:25-04

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Retailers continue to face challenges stocking baby formula.

Months into a formula shortage, stores report some progress, but getting specific brands or types of formula is still nearly impossible.

The headlines said the baby formula shortage is easing, but the bare shelves tell a different story.

At Green’s Pharmacy of Palm Beach, Allen Rutman said he places orders with his wholesaler every day.

"I've been trying to order Nutramigen probably for the last two to three months," Rutman said. "It’s not even showing up."

And that’s the case for larger retailers, too. WPTV snapped photos Friday showing empty shelves and signs showing when in stock, quantities per household are limited.

"It's been hard. Even Publix everywhere, they don't have it," said Kali Scrattish.

Scrattish said the formula shortage has been especially hard on her and her 4-month-old baby.

"I couldn’t just put him on anything cause also he’s allergic. It's so hard," Scrattish said.

In late August, Abbott said it was restarting its Similac infant formula production at its Sturgis, Michigan facility after it was previously closed due to safety concerns, but it won’t make it to retailers until about early-to-mid-October.

Enfamil also said it received approval to import a specialty based formula from Mexico, following an early August announcement that it partnered with the White House to fly more than 400,000 pounds of formula to the U.S. from Singapore.

Parents are still waiting to see those results on the shelves.

In order to help with the shortage, a children's clothing consignment shop in Palm Beach Gardens started a baby formula donation program, accepting unopened formula drop-offs and giving it away to moms in need.

"We started to think, you know, I don’t need to take money for this. I would rather just give it to the moms that need it," said David Brown, the owner of Kid To Kid.

Brown's consignment shop opened up just at the beginning of the shortage, and he said every day he sees the need to keep the donation program going.

"I've had a couple boxes of it come in and then again it goes right back out, too," Brown said. "We did have one mom come from Ocala, Florida to come down and get one container from us. It was that difficult."

Smaller shops like Green’s Pharmacy said their wholesalers just don’t know when they’ll have more stock to ship to them.