Iowa hit hard by formula shortage

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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TIPTON, Iowa (KCRG) - On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced he’s lifting rules on imports of baby formula to try and alleviate a shortage, one that’s hitting Iowa especially hard.

In Iowa, the stock rate for formula is more than 50%. For comparison, it was less than 10% last year. This nationwide problem is due to a supply chain interruption, and a Michigan formula plant shut down during a recall.

“I’m guessing the formula that I just purchased will only last me a week,” said Childcare Director of Cedar County Coordinated Childcare in Tipton, Shanon Hillyer. “I’m either going to have to order daily or find another source to get it.”

Hillyer oversees about 100 kids. Most parents bring their milk for the little ones, but they can choose to let the daycare provide it. It’s an option that’s proving increasingly difficult.

“We’ve now switched brands three times because we can’t find the formula brand we’ve been using,” she said.

That switch has also added costs. What once cost her $23 for the generic brand has now jumped to $87 for name brand formula; nearly tripling her cost.

“It’s been difficult to find the formula we need,” she said. “I could only get 5 12-ounce canisters. Normally I get one 48-ounce canister from Sam’s Club.”

As she struggles to get enough formula, she knows parents are facing the same difficulty.

“One mother I spoke with, whose baby is under a year, said she was thinking of switching to whole milk early,” she said. “I don’t think that’s the best choice because they’re not going to get the vitamins or iron they need from the formula.”

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