Tech

Shortage of infant formula spawned a shady online market

Sites like eBay and Craigslist offer exorbitant pricing formulas. A recent search by the MIT Technology Review found that several sellers are asking over $300 for 12 containers of baby food on eBay, which comes out to about $25 each. Typically, these containers sell for between $7 and $10.

Moore says parents on welfare are under particular stress. They get their checks at the start of the month and have to beat other desperate parents—if they can—to get the special Social Security approved brands of infant formula made by Abbott, Gerber, and Meade Johnson.

Despite the FDA agreement, the crisis could worsen over the next few months as supply chain issues persist and the FDA continues to monitor manufacturing to ensure infant formula is safe. This could lead to another major health crisis among babies forced to give up formula too early, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and hospitalizations.

According to Lindsay Groff, executive director of the North American Association of Human Milk Banks, one of the most important ways to combat shortages could be to encourage women to donate excess breast milk. She says formula shortages have led to a 20 percent increase in demand at milk cans across the US, but there is not enough milk for all occasions. She hopes parents can spread the word online, encouraging their followers to donate breast milk if they can.


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