Baby formula shortages, caused in part by a recent product recall, are so acute that some retailers have taken to rationing it.
Walmart, Target, Kroger and other retailers have been limiting the quantity of baby formula that consumers can purchase in the store or online, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. A Walmart spokesperson told the Journal that the FDA has asked that customers be limited to five days’ supply.
For the week ending April 3, out-of-stocks for baby formula averaged about 13%, according to IRI sales figures; 10% and above is considered problematic.
Abbott recalled lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products produced at its facility in Sturgis, Mich., after four infants became sickened and one died after consuming formula from there. However, Abbott claims that none of its distributed products tested positive for cronobacter or salmonella bacteria, the cause of those illnesses.
Abbott is taking various measures to alleviate the formula shortages, including increasing Similac production at other facilities and bringing in product from Europe.