That rate increased another 9 percentage points in just three weeks in April, and now stands at 40%, the statistics show. In six states — Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Texas and Tennessee — more than half of baby formula was completely sold out during the week starting April 24, Datasembly said.
And although seven states had between 40-50% of baby formula products out of stock as of early April, 26 states are now struggling with supply.
“This issue has been compounded by supply chain issues, product recalls and historic inflation,” Datasembly CEO Ben Reich said. “Unfortunately, given the unprecedented amount of volatility to the category, we anticipate baby formula to continue to be one of the most affected products in the market.”
CVS and Walgreens confirmed that it is limiting customers nationwide to three toddler and infant formulas per transaction. “We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands,” Walgreens said in a statement to CNN Business.
A Target spokesperson confirmed that the retailer has limited baby formula purchases to four units per customer for online purchases. There is no limit on the number of units that can be bought in person in Target stores, the company said.
Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.
The shortage has been exacerbated by the Food and Drug Administration’s shutdown of an Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan. Abbott is a major producer of baby formula.
Abbott said the former employee was fired because of “serious violations of Abbott’s food safety policies,” and that he will investigate new allegations.
“After dismissal, the former employee, through their attorney, has made evolving, new and escalating allegations to multiple authorities,” an Abbott spokesperson said in a statement.
The Abbott spokesperson also said that products tested for Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella all came back negative, and that no Salmonella was found at the Sturgis facility during the investigation.
“The Cronobacter sakazakii that was found in environmental testing during the investigation was in non-product contact areas of our Sturgis facility and has not been linked to the two available patient samples or any other known infant illness,” the spokesperson said.
Abbott told CNN in a statement Saturday it is working closely with the FDA to resume operations in its Michigan plant.
“We continue to make progress on corrective actions and will be implementing additional actions as we work toward addressing items related to the recent recall. In the meantime, we are working to increase the supply of infant formula by prioritizing infant formula production at our facilities that provide product to the US market,” Abbott said in a statement to CNN Business.