Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT) – Supply disruptions and a safety recall have forced parents across the United States to scramble to find formula as many brands are nowhere to be found on store shelves.
As a result, parents and caregivers in need are not only going store to store and browsing online, but they are also turning to social media, such as Facebook Marketplace, to find formula for their babies.
WVLT News reached out to Knoxville law enforcement, who shared advice for those buying formula from an online vendor, with many finding themselves with nowhere to go.
Knoxville Police Department spokesman Scott Erland said he should verify the person’s identity and arrange to complete a transaction in a well-lit public space. He noted that the KPD headquarters would be a good place for this, as it remains well lit and officers and security cameras are on site.
When arranging an in-person transaction, as authorities discourage entirely online shopping with vendors, Erland said he plans to bring at least one other person with you.
Once there, make sure the formula is new and has never been opened or tampered with.
Erland urged parents to beware of price gouging when researching infant formula, saying there could be ‘bad actors’ trying to buy large quantities of infant formula and then resell it for a profit. . To prevent this from happening and due to the shortage, a CVS spokesperson said via email that customers have a product limit of three babies per purchase in stores and online. According to the Associated Press, Walgreens has also started limiting the formula available per shopper.
However, on the other hand, deals that sound too good to be true should be treated with caution.
“Again, verify the identity of the seller and do not provide any financial information or money until the transaction is complete,” Erland concluded.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Food and Drug Administration was “working around the clock to address potential shortages.” The next day, May 10, the FDA said it was working with US manufacturers to increase production and streamline paperwork to allow more imports.
For now, pediatricians and healthcare workers are urging parents who can’t find formula to contact food banks or doctors’ offices. They caution against diluting the formula to stretch supplies or using DIY recipes online.
Dr Malinda Harris, a neonatologist at Children’s Hospital of East Tennessee who specializes in babies six months and younger, said: “It can be very dangerous. This formula is meant to be mixed according to the box instructions. And if you change the components and try to dilute it, it will last longer but put your baby at risk.
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