Four babies hospitalized in South Carolina over baby food shortage

At least four babies have been hospitalized in South Carolina over America’s baby food shortage, as the first military flights carrying emergency supplies from Europe will land in the US this weekend.

An official from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston said the hospital is treating babies either because homemade formulas have made them sick, or because they are not tolerant of new formulas their parents have had to use as replacements.

MUSC spokesperson Heather Woolwine said: The state that many of the children “have complex health problems, including nutrition”.

She said it was difficult to pinpoint an exact number who needed treatment, but she has so far been able to think of at least four whose illnesses are linked to the shortage of formulas.

Pediatric dieticians at the hospital “now work with the individual pediatric care team to find a formula or diet that works for him or her based on allergy and calorie needs,” she said.

As parents across the country struggle to get hold of a limited supply of baby food amid the nationwide crisis, those with babies with allergies and intolerances are faced with an additional dilemma.

Many have been forced to use alternative products to feed their children and several babies have become ill and hospitalized as a result.

Several children’s hospitals across the country have reported babies being admitted due to the shortage of formulas.

In Memphis, a doctor this week said he had treated two children as a direct result of the bottle-feeding deficiency.

dr. Mark Corkins, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, told Action News that both children had bowel conditions that required them to be on a certain type of bottle-feeding.

They both reacted badly when their parents couldn’t find the required formula and were now treated in the hospital with IV fluid and extra nutrition, he said.

In Children’s Wisconsin in Milwaukee, hospital officials said several babies had been taken to the emergency room because of malnutrition.

“We’re seeing more children for whom inappropriate formula substitutions are a factor in their hospitalization,” a spokesperson told local outlet TMJ4.

This weekend, the first formula planes from Europe will land in Indiana as part of the Biden administration’s effort to get much-needed supplies to American families.

The White House announced Friday that 132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula would be flown from Germany to the US this weekend.

Another 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula will arrive in the coming days, with approximately 1.5 million 8-ounce bottles of the three formulas arriving this week.

Military aircraft will fly the formula as part of “Operation Fly Formula”.

In addition to flying formulas from abroad, the president has also invoked the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to ramp up production in the US.

This is as the shortage reached crisis levels, with parents scrambling desperately to try to feed their babies and some being forced to pay around $100 for a single can online.

In the week ending May 8, a staggering 43 percent of the best-selling baby food at U.S. retailers was out of stock, according to an analysis by Datasembly.

Last year around this time, Datasembly found that the number of sold out products fluctuated between just 2 and 8 percent.

The shortage was fueled by the February closure of Abbott Nutrition’s plant in Sturgis, Michigan, the largest baby food manufacturer in the US.

All production at the factory has been halted in the past three months and three of the products have been voluntarily recalled after two babies died and at least four others were hospitalized with bacterial infections after consuming the factory-produced formula.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an investigation warning parents not to use certain Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare products.

It is not yet clear whether the bacteria originated from the plant.

Abbott said in a statement that none of its products tested positive for Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella and that a review found that the formula produced at its Sturgis facility “is not likely to be the source of infection in the reported cases and there is no outbreak was caused by products from the facility”.

The FDA has yet to release the findings of the investigation.

The agency and Abbott have said they are working to restart production at the plant as soon as possible.

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