CINCINNATI — The US is expecting another massive shipment of baby formula to arrive Wednesday and Thursday.
It is the 17th Operation Fly Formula Mission, with this shipment importing acid-based formula—like Alfamino—from Switzerland to New York’s JFK Airport.
The shipment will have enough formula to make about 802,000 8-ounce bottles and will be distributed primarily to hospitals and home health care providers.
Despite the shipments, parents tell us they are still driving to numerous stores to track down the baby formula they need.
New mom Amy Hall is constantly searching for formula for her son, Sullivan.
“I’ve stayed up late until like 2 am messaging people on Facebook, asking if they still have cans or if they’re out of cans,” Hall said.
Amy explains that Sullivan has a cow’s milk protein allergy and needs special formula.
“We switched to Nutramigen, which was working pretty well but then the crisis happened and we couldn’t find it anywhere,” Hall said.
It didn’t take long for the desperation to set in. And like so many moms, she turned to social media for help.
“I made a post on Facebook for all our family and friends, and they actually found Nutramigen all over the country and mailed it to us and sent it over and that got us through for awhile,” she said.
The White House says by the end of the week, Operation Fly Formula will have imported more than 61 million 8-ounce bottles.
But, according to reports, that’s not nearly enough. Reports show US consumers buy enough formula to make 65 million bottles every week.
Market research firm IRI says the July supply on store shelves is the lowest yet.
“I have enough for 2 weeks right now but then I’m just always in the back of my mind, I’m thinking okay when I run out of that, what am I going to do next? Where am I going to find the next can of formula for him?” Hall said.
Local moms chimed in on Facebook about whether or not it’s getting easier to find formula.
One mom wrote, “Not easier! The guy we are using hasn’t been on the shelves anywhere for weeks.”
Another wrote, “It was super challenging — then it seemed to ease up and become easier for a little bit and now it’s super challenging again!”
Abbott, one of the nation’s largest baby formula supplies, reopened its Michigan production facility in early July. It was shut down since February after reports of bacterial infections in babies who had consumed products made at the facility.
Before the shutdown and recalls, Abbott controlled about 40% of the baby formula market.
The White House said there is a focus on increasing domestic production, but it is a slow process because of higher safety standards.
Parents nationwide hope that increased production means a solid stock on store shelves, but full relief is still not a reality.
“It’s scary to know that I might not be able to find food for him and I might not be able to get the nutrients that he needs,” Hall said.
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