This supply crisis, which concerns almost all sectors from the pandemic, worsened in February with the closure for health reasons of a large manufacturing plant. Powdered milk has become a speculation object.
The war in Ukraine, inflation, the questioning of the right to abortion, migratory pressure on the Mexican border: the Biden administration is in permanent crisis management. But she certainly did not plan to add to this list the milk powder for children. The United States is faced with a spectacular shortage of this product, with a stock rate estimated at 43 % last week. In the media, the testimonies of parents in distress accumulate, drawing a table usually reserved for developing countries, rather than American power.
On May 12, the spokesperson for the White House, Jen Psaki, even started her daily briefing with this subject, before being in a hurry by journalists. The room for maneuver is limited, and the shortage may last. In addition to an increase in imports, which does not go without saying due to the international supply chain crisis, the absolute priority of the Biden administration is to “reduce paperwork,” said Jen Psaki. The American president, Joe Biden, spoke with the patterns of large distribution, Walmart and Target, to try to fluidify the deliveries, in particular in rural areas.
Powder milk has become a speculation object, online prices exploding. The general prosecutors of the States are invited to look at “predatory behavior” on the market. “We do not want parents, mothers, families to be stressed and worried about the food of their babies,” said Jen Psaki. It’s the case. The psychological dimension of the crisis is as important as that of production. “What we see, and which is a huge problem is that people make reservations,” said the spokesperson. People do this because they are afraid, it’s an aspect of the thing, But some do stocks because they try to take advantage of frightened parents. “
The crisis has been running for months, and it is particularly scary for poor families, with low wages and sometimes devoid of medical insurance, unable to choose breastfeeding. In the United States, about one in four mother nourishes her child in up to six months, the others choose powdered milk, at least in part. The cost of this expenditure is considerable, beyond $ 1,000 in the first year. Specific infant milks – for example in case of serious allergies – have become a luxury commodity, the price of a box sometimes exceeding one hundred dollars.
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