Health

While the baby formula shortage in the United States hit harder in late May, the product may have been easier to find in Louisville than some other areas, a recent report from retail pricing tracker Datasembly shows. 

The data tracks any shortage in formula since the start of 2021, when the nationwide average was around 3.4% out of stock. That means the vast minority of the shelves used for formula were empty at the time. 

But that was long before major manufacturer Abbott Nutrition issued a voluntary recall and temporarily ceased production over contamination concerns at its Michigan plant this February. 

The impacts of that closure reached a zenith by the last week of May, when the nationwide average of formula stock shortages jumped to more than 73%, with Kentucky higher than that. The Commonwealth’s out-of-stock percentage for that week was nearly 77%. 

In contrast, data show the Louisville area offered the best chance of finding formula on store shelves last week, compared to the more than 50 metro areas Datasembly ranked. Louisville retailers were, overall, around 54% out of stock. 

Abbott Nutrition reached a deal with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in mid-May to soon reopen, but company leaders say when they do, it will take six to eight weeks for the product to reach retailers. 

Here are some recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for parents struggling to find formula.

Aprile Rickert is WFPL's health reporter.