Baby formula shortage still impacting Arizona families
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Millions of parents are still struggling to find baby formula. New data shows Arizona ranks among the top five states where parents report having the most trouble finding it.
The latest survey from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 51% of all parents of newborns in the state have difficulty finding baby formula. The national average is 27%.
“Here we are 8 or 9 months after the shortage began and the data is still alarmingly high,” said Christian Worstell, senior copywriter with HelpAdvisor.com.
In addition to having trouble finding formula, more than half of parents in Arizona report having only one week’s supply or less on hand.
“And in some states that was north of 80% by the way,” Worstell said.
The reason? Worstell says rural areas have fewer stores for parents to shop at. Plus, it comes down to demand. Worstell says approximately half of all infant formula sold in the U.S. is purchased with WIC benefits.
“The WIC enrollment is a little bit higher in Arizona. So, there’s more Medicaid recipients relying on formulas through that program,” Worstell said. “There’s also a higher Hispanic population in Arizona and Hispanics do have a higher rate of formula usage than the national average.”
While shortages are expected to continue, relief is in sight. Abbott nutrition – which accounts for 40% of formula in the U.S. – resumed operations in July, steadily making up for lost production.
A criminal investigation related to last year’s recalls is ongoing.
“So, if there was another shutdown of that plant, even on a temporary basis as a result of that investigation, we could be right back to where we were when this all began again,” Worstell said.
Many local stores continue to limit how many cans of formula each customer can purchase, to ration the formula they do get in stock. To see the full HelpAdvisor study, click here.
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