Healthcare

Retailers placing limits on baby formula purchases as shortage worsens

Can of baby formula sitting on a counter

Several major retailers — including Walgreens, CVS, Target and Costco — are rationing the purchase of baby formula amid an ongoing national shortage. 

“Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, infant and toddler formulas are seeing constraint across the country,” a Walgreens spokesperson told The Hill.

“Similar to other retailers, we put into effect purchase limits of three per transaction on all infant and toddler formula to help improve inventory. We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands,” the Walgreens statement added.

CVS similarly said it would limit baby formula sales to three units per purchase, both in stores and online.

“We’re continuing to work with our baby formula vendors to address this issue, and we regret any inconvenience this causes our customers,” the company said in a statement.

Target confirmed to The Hill that it is also limiting the sale of baby formula products, including some limits on the company’s website.

Costco’s website also showed that members were limited to five baby formula units per member while supplies last.

The Hill has reached out to Walmart for comment.

The limitations on purchases come after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded its food recall for Abbott Nutrition’s baby food products earlier this year following a child’s death after consuming one of the company’s products.

Abbott Nutrition had issued a voluntary recall of its Similac PM 60/40 powdered infant formula with the lot code 27032K800, which was distributed in the U.S. and Israel.

Retail experts said the recalls exacerbated baby formula shortages, and volatility caused by supply chain disruptions and inflation that is impacting many consumer industries.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the shortage in a press briefing on Monday, saying that “ensuring the availability of these products is also a priority for the FDA, and they’re working around the clock to address any possible shortage.”

“That includes working with major infant formula manufacturers to ensure they’re increasing production, because part of this issue is, of course, making sure there’s stock on the shelves,” Psaki said.

Updated at 5:16 p.m.

Tags baby formula Jen Psaki supply shortages

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