2022 – The Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports exacerbates infant formula shortages in the United States by preventing the export of key ingredients.

Empty shelves in a supermarket on May 23, 2022 in New York City.

  • Parents across the country are struggling to feed their children amidst baby food shortages.
  • Experts and business leaders say the situation has been further complicated by the war in Ukraine.
  • Ukraine is the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil, a common ingredient in infant formula.

Industry experts and executives say the war in Ukraine is further straining the world’s baby food supplies.

Ukraine is the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil, a common ingredient in infant formula. Industry experts told the Wall Street Journal that the Russian invasion has frozen crops and blocked shipments from Ukrainian ports, and companies are scrambling to find alternative sources and alternatives.

The military conflict adds another complication to an already weak industry that has been hit by supply chain problems, product recalls and factory shutdowns in recent months.

Patrick Sly — head of global nutrition at Reckitt, the company that makes the baby food brand Enfamil — told CBS Evening News last week that the shortages have been exacerbated by the intricacies of manufacturing formulations, which must meet certain criteria to ensure and ensure adequate nutrition. digestion.

“Our products are very complex,” said Sly. They are almost pharmaceutical products. There are dozens of ingredients that go into our products. An example of this is that one of the oils that go into our products was affected by what happened in Ukraine.”

Ukraine and Russia together export about 75% of the world’s sunflower oil. A cooking oil shortage is already beginning to be felt in Britain, as grocery shoppers limit the number of bottles they can buy.

At a UN Security Council meeting last week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused Russia of inciting a global food crisis by holding supplies “hostage” at Ukrainian ports.

“The Russian government appears to believe that using food as a weapon will help achieve what the invasion failed to achieve – to break the morale of the Ukrainian people,” Blinken said.

In the United States, shortages of infant formula have led to a sharp rise in hospital admissions, including in Atlanta and South Carolina, where health centers recently reported admitting infants for nutritional deficiencies linked to the deficiency. The shortage worsened in April when 40% of US retailers were out of stock.

On May 18, the Biden administration invoked the Defense Production Act, which requires suppliers of essential components to prioritize fixture makers over other customers. The government has also launched Operation Fly Formula, a global effort to import the formula into the United States. Last week, 78,000 pounds of formula milk arrived in Indiana from Switzerland as part of this campaign.

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