Colorado parents may find it more difficult to secure infant formula for their newborns due to a national shortage. Some stores are limiting the amount of formula they can buy, as many Facebacks are getting it in stock as well.
Major chains in Colorado, from CVS Pharmacy to Walgreens, have reported shortages. The shelves in stores throughout the metro area are not barren, but the limited supply is noticeable.
“CVS set a customer limit of three baby formula products per purchase in store and online,” said spokeswoman Monica Prinzing, following supplier challenges and increasing customer demand. The national chain includes more than 50 stores across the state.
“We are continuing to work with our baby formula vendors to address this issue and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” Prinzing said.
Spokesperson Karen May said Walgreens also established a purchase limit of three per transaction on all infant and infant formulas to help improve inventory. Spokesperson Erin Rolfes said Kroger is restricting purchases to four containers per customer.
Notably, Natural Grocers didn’t have supply issues with their baby formula, said co-president Kemper Isely.
“But, due to shortages nationwide, it appears we may be starting to experience this, as demand for the formulas we sell increases largely due to the lack of formulas sold,” he said in an email. wrote in the statement.
The state’s largest grocery store chain headquartered in Denver, King Sopers, released a four baby formula limit per customer at its 1155 East 9th Avenue store. At its store on 136th Avenue in Broomfield, there were no signs indicating a purchase limit, but Formula’s shelves were at least half empty.
Elsewhere on the north side of the metro area, Safeway on 144th Avenue in Broomfield had mostly full shelves, but was limiting shopping to five items, and Target on 144th Avenue was in short supply.
Representatives for King Sopers and Walmart did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
About 40% of large retail stores nationwide are out of stock of baby formula — a jump from 31% in April, according to data analytics firm, Dataassembly. Only a handful of companies control the baby formula market — Abbott, Mead Johnson, and Gerber, which is owned by Nestle — which leaves it susceptible to disruptions.
The US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in February not to use Similac, Elementum or Elecare powder infant formula produced at the Abbott Nutrition Plant in Michigan. The federal investigation followed complaints by consumers about infant sickness.
“We recognize that many consumers have been unable to access the infant formula and vital medical foods they are accustomed to using and are frustrated by their inability to do so,” FDA Commissioner Robert Calif said. “We are doing everything in our power to make sure there is enough product available where and when they need it.”
As of Tuesday’s update, the FDA is working to allow flexibility in the movement of already approved infant formula products into the US from overseas. Specifically, “other infant formula manufacturers are meeting or exceeding capacity levels to meet current demand,” the agency wrote.
President Joe Biden met with Gerber and Reckitt on Thursday and talked about how their administration can help them boost production. The White House said it also spoke with Walmart and Target leadership on how to restock shelves and tackle regional disparities in access to baby formula.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “We believe this is certainly a challenge for people across the country that the President is very focused on and we are doing everything we can to reduce red tape and increase supplies.” Going to try my best.” said.
The Biden administration aims to work with business partners in Mexico, Chile, Ireland and the Netherlands on imports, although 98% of baby formula is produced in the US.
Chris Howes, president of the Colorado Retail Council, said Colorado’s shortage of baby formula is “on average with the rest of the country,” whose members sell the majority of the product in the state.
But, the Abbott plant isn’t the only source of the problem. Howes also pointed to the transportation sector’s labor deficit and the lingering effects from COVID-19.
“Everyone is working on it to try and get a quick fix,” he said, but cautioned parents against making up their own formula.
Parents who opt to find formula at the store still have options in the metro area.
Colorado families can stay by Denver Inner City Parish at 1212 Mariposa St. Monday through Friday, the Human Services nonprofit supplies baby care supplies, including infant formula.
Office manager and executive assistant Alex Romberg said his team is sorting out all of Similac’s products to ensure they are not part of the recall.
Alternatively, its food pantry, which is open only on Saturdays, offers baby food. Denver Inner City Parish is open for walk-ups from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Denver metropolitan area residents can also turn to WeeCycle, a Colorado-based nonprofit that helps families in need. While WeeCycle doesn’t donate directly to individuals, its Mobile Baby Essentials program delivers diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, and more at five Denver locations and one Aurora location.
The nonprofit has nine events in May and seven in June, as listed online. Most are drive-thru, and all are first-come, first-served with no documentation required.
WeeCycle development director Lindsey Zback said she’s seen an increase in demand for baby formula, especially for specialty brands. “I can’t even wrap my mind about the lack of this formula as a mother,” she said in a telephone interview.
Through the grant funding, the nonprofit is able to purchase $20,000 of formula each month, but Zaback encourages financial donations from those interested in helping the cause.
WeeCycle also collects baby and toddler gear at various charity locations and distributes cleaned and inspected gear to community-based organizations. Donations can include diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, and more.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.