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Baby formula shortage impacting Mankato, southern Minnesota

From the investigation the FDA found traces of a pathogen in Abbott’s Michigan plant, which have been linked to the deaths of two infants.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 6:18 PM CDT|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 7:57 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The baby formula shortage has grown from a nuisance to a full-blown crisis in the last couple of months, and it’s not going to get better any time soon.

“Parents don’t have the formula, the food to feed their children. Some parents are attempting homemade formulas and other ways to feed their babies. Those ways just don’t meet the infants’ nutritional needs,” said Dr. Kelly Bride, a pediatrician at Mankato Clinic.

The problem can be traced back to supply chain issues and the Food and Drug Administration investigating Abbott, a major producer of infant formula.

From the investigation, the FDA found traces of a pathogen in Abbott’s Michigan plant, which have been linked to the deaths of two infants.

“A handful of companies in the United States make that formula for infants, so when one of those companies can’t produce formulas, it causes a huge issue in supply,” Bride explained.

Bride warns families to be cautious with homemade formulas.

“It can also cause problems with babies’ electrolytes and potentially cause seizures, and even death, if used for too long.”

The shortage has hit Mankato and southern Minnesota, which has put a strain on families with young children.

We are in dire need of formula. We accept all sizes and all brands. We are unable to accept open, recalled or expired...

Posted by Feeding Every Baby Inc. on Sunday, May 8, 2022

“Like Mankato Area Mom’s Facebook page, it’s constant, constant posts about formula shortages, where can I get it, I have this in the mail for anyone who needs it, I can donate it,” Northside Hair Co. and Unique Hair and Ink owner Jennifer Clark said.

The shortage has also put a strain on nonprofits like Feeding Every Baby, which is what caused Clark, who is a mother of seven, to allow her company to become a drop-off location for the nonprofit.

Clark says that even though she is posting on their Facebook page about the formula shortage, there still isn’t a lot to go around.

“You can only get what you can see in the community, and if the community can’t see it and get it, then it is not there to volunteer either.”

Clark feels for all the struggling parents out there who might have to face the day when they cannot feed their children.

“Then not have to worry about whether you can provide for your baby or not. That’s just a stress that nobody wants to have.”

The federal government launched a website Friday with resources for families struggling to find baby formula amid the national shortage.

The Department of Health and Human Services site HHS.gov/formula features information including manufacturer hotlines, community resources and other guidance. It also has a link for WIC-eligible families to reach out to a local office for assistance.

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