Crisis in Ukraine Reportedly Contributes to Baby Formula Shortage in US
14:34 GMT 27.05.2022 (Updated: 14:35 GMT 27.05.2022)
© AP Photo / Gregory BullPasteurized donor human milk sits in a refrigerator at the University of California Health Milk Bank, Friday, May 13, 2022, in San Diego. The U.S. baby formula shortage has sparked a surge of interest among moms who want to donate breast milk to help bridge the supply gap as well as those seeking to keep their babies fed.
© AP Photo / Gregory Bull
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The conflict in Ukraine is exacerbating the current baby formula shortage in the United States because sunflower oil is a key ingredient, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday, citing officials and experts.
Ukraine is the world's largest exporter of sunflower-seed oil, which many manufacturers use in baby formula products as a source of important fats, the report said, citing data from the US Department of Agriculture. The blockade of Ukrainian ports has curbed exports of this oil, the report added.
Businesses are trying to find alternative ways to get sunflower oil or to find new recipes with similar oils instead, industry experts noted.
In April, a metric ton of sunflower oil cost over $2,200, while the February price was about $1,500, the report noted, citing the World Bank.
“It does just add an additional cost, complexity and in some cases delays,” explained Lyman Stone, director of research for Demographic Intelligence, which consults for formula manufacturers.
23 May, 09:19 GMT
Earlier in May, the Biden administration invoked the Defence Production Act to boost production of infant formula and to use US military cargo airplanes in order to expedite overseas shipments of the product. Since then, at least 1.5 million eight-ounce bottles of infant formula have been transported from Switzerland to Indiana to help alleviate the shortages.
However, the White House has no plans to use this act for sunflower oil, the Wall Street Journal said, citing a senior administration official.