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Parents still desperate for baby formula months after shortage began

Parents still desperate for baby formula
Parents still desperate for baby formula months after shortage began 02:02

Five months since the baby formula crisis began, parents like Julie Morgan are still desperate. Morgan's 8-month-old daughter, Taytum, is lactose intolerant and needs hypoallergenic formula, which is still hard to find. 

"It's almost impossible today," Morgan told CBS News. 

Morgan did not think the shortage would last this long. 

"I thought I was in the clear because I had like two months' supply," she said. 

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration touted progress in addressing the crisis, but the latest data shows nearly one-third of powdered formula products are still out of stock nationwide, according to market research company IRI. Four companies are responsible for supplying about 90% of domestic baby formula in the U.S. 

The FDA also announced an external review into the agency's handling of the crisis. 

"We're working 24/7 on this to make sure that we have adequate supply," FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said. 

Under Operation Fly Formula, the U.S. has called on international companies to send tens of millions of cans of baby formula. Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said it recently cleared the way to give those suppliers a permanent place in the U.S. market. 

"We also want to change the policy here," Becerra said. "The industry allowed themselves to be short and we can't afford that, especially with specialty formula." 

The shortage began when one of the major U.S. suppliers, Abbott, closed its largest plant in February due to contamination. The Michigan facility is back up and running, but it could be at least two months before families get the relief they need to keep their children fed.   

Sarah Chamberlin's daughter, Izzy, has a rare disorder and relies on specialty formula for 70% of her nutrition. She said it has also been a scramble to find formula. 

"We have less formula than we did two months ago," Chamberlin told CBS News. 

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