The baby food shortage is getting worse; CVS, Target, Walgreens are limiting sales

  • Infant formula supplies have become more limited, pushing the out-of-stock rate to 40%, from 31% two weeks earlier.
  • The shortage has caused retailers including CVS, Target and Walgreens to restrict the purchase of infant formula.
  • In some states, the shortages are even worse: Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota face supply shortages of more than 50%.

The ongoing shortage of infant formula is not over – and only seems to be getting worse.

Nearly 40% of popular baby food brands sold out at US retailers during the week of April 24, according to an analysis by Datasembly, which assessed the inventory of more than 11,000 stores.

That’s more than an already high out-of-stock rate of 31% two weeks ago, Datasembly said.

Major retailers, including CVS, Target and Walgreens, limit the number of formula shoppers they can purchase.

Walgreens continues to limit shoppers to three infant and toddler formula products per transaction, said Walgreens Boots Alliance spokesman Steve Cohen. “Due to increased demand and various challenges for suppliers, infant and toddler formulas are experiencing constraints across the country,” he said.

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The situation is the same at CVS, which limits three baby food products per purchase in its stores and online, according to a statement to USA TODAY from CVS Health, which owns the pharmacy chain. “We continue to work with our baby food suppliers to address this issue and we regret any inconvenience this causes our customers,” the statement continued.

Target also limits shoppers to a maximum of four formula products at a time, the retailer told CBS News.

After recently visiting three different stores in one day last month, Elyssa Schmier, the vice president of government relations for advocacy group MomsRising, “suddenly realized my formula was nowhere to be found,” she told USA TODAY. “It’s almost a full-time job to find Similac.”

Infant formula recalls are exacerbating the situation

Federal safety inspectors say baby food manufacturer Abbott has failed to maintain sanitary conditions at its Abbott Laboratories facility in Sturgis, Michigan.

The problem was compounded by a voluntary recall issued by Abbott Nutrition in mid-February, recalling selected batches of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas from Sturgis, Michigan. That recall was expanded to include one batch of Similac PM 60/40 at the end of February.

Then, in March, the Food and Drug Administration released preliminary findings about the formular’s failure to maintain sanitary conditions and procedures at that plant.

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