Monday, May 16, 2022

The causes, effects, and possible solutions to the baby formula shortage from PBS, CNBC, ABC, and Inside Edition

Weekend Update compares this week's headlines to 'Mad Max' on last night's 'SNL' "opened with a litany of unpleasant realities" that were "also a list of future blogging topics." One of those was the baby formula shortage. As Colin Jost (and his writers) noted, it's ironic, if not downright perverse, that Alito's leaked Supreme Court opinion mentioned "the domestic supply of infants" at the same time we're having trouble feeding the ones we already have. That's dystopian.

PBS NewsHour described the situation in Parents nationwide struggle with a critical baby formula shortage.

A baby formula shortage has become a major problem for parents around the U.S., one without quick solutions. About 40 percent of formula is out of stock nationwide due to supply chain disruptions, inflation and a recall by one of the biggest producers. Meanwhile, the White House announced steps to address the shortage. Brian Dittmeier, of the National WIC Association, joins Ali Rogin to discuss.
I agree with Jessica Cohen Taubman that moms should be in charge of the world, at least for a few days, just to solve problems like this. I'm sharing one such solution at the end of the post.

While PBS did a good job of showing the effects of the shortages in its interviews of mothers and explaining what the U.S. government could do to solve it, it didn't focus enough on the causes of the problem. For that, I turn to CNBC Television explaining How the baby formula shortage happened.

CNBC's Valerie Castro joins The News with Shepard Smith to report on the baby formula shortage and what the administration hopes to do about it.
Four companies control 90% of the market. I've seen that before, as four companies control the beef industry. I wrote then that this could be bad for consumers. The baby formula shortage shows one way this happens.

ABC News reported more of what the U.S. government could do to solve the problem in White House addresses plans to ease baby formula shortage.

President Joe Biden spoke with retailers and manufacturers to make supplies available as quickly as possible, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
Looks like the Biden Administration is taking this issue seriously. Also, this was one of Jen Psaki's final press conferences. I wish her success in her future endeavors.

I close with one of the solutions mothers have devised to alleviate the crisis in Inside Edition's Baby Formula Shortage Crisis Is Getting Worse.

The White House promised it’s working hard to solve the national baby formula shortage. But for families with newborn babies and infants, a solution can’t come soon enough. As they get down to their last formula supply, people are getting more and more desperate in their search. A mom named Gina from Sound Beach, New York, drove for hours with her 10-month-old son, looking for formula. She found a lot of bare shelves.
As I've written before, Inside Edition is a syndicated infotainment newsmagazine that is not the hardest news source, so I'm not surprised it presents stories in a very personalized and somewhat sensationalized way. Still, it's a major source of information for many people — this video currently has 412,976 views, nearly twenty times more than the next most viewed video I embedded from CNBC Television with 24,779 — so I shouldn't ignore it. Besides, it shows a Nature knows best solution, donating breast milk, that mothers are contributing to help with the shortage. I find that admirable; I just don't know how scalable it is.

I told my readers to "Stay tuned to see how many of [the unpleasant realities] I tackle this week" yesterday. One down.

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