Video about baby formula scarcity goes viral — Analysis

A confrontation in a US department store illustrates the impact of the vital product’s scarcity

TikTok has a viral video that allegedly was shot at a Target in Massachusetts. The clip focuses on the problem of baby formula hoarding as well as scalping during the current shortage. Another shopper is confronted by the woman filming the video for her purchase of too little of the limited product and leaving no other customers.

Chopnedits, a TikTok user posted this video May 10 with the caption: “My younger sister, first time mother… and this is the crap young mothers deal with.”

The site had nearly 723,000 visits and 7,500 comments by Friday.

Video of the woman filming opens with her pan from the shopping cart full of an alleged hoarder, to empty shelves near by.

“You come and you buy all the formula at once,”The woman inquires. “There are kids who need formula today who won’t be able to get it because you just bought it to stock up. That’s not your problem, right?”

As the video ends, the other person leaves.

It’s not clear if the alleged hoarder had the right to make purchases from the entire cart.

“The store should not allow that,”One TikTok user left a comment.

“She’s reselling for sure,”One person stated, another made the same accusation.

Target “restricts some online and in-store limitations in place of four products per customer,”Newsweek reported Thursday from an email sent by a representative of Target. According to the New York Times, Target has imposed a maximum of four items on online purchases but does not limit in-store purchase of baby formula.

Some other US retailers have placed restrictions on the sale of the product. Since February, the Food and Drug Administration has been encouraging companies to set limits.

Walmart has a limit of five products-per-purchase per FDA guidance, and CVS and Walgreens have a limit of three products per purchase, the Wall Street Journal reported in April.

US announces steps to combat shortage of baby formula

The Department of Justice asked all state attorneys to dedicate more resources to monitoring the market for baby formulas and other predatory behaviors. The Federal Trade Commission was asked by Joe Biden, the US President, to investigate predatory behavior in baby formula markets. “use all its available tools to monitor and investigate reports of illegal and predatory conduct.”

Biden used the Defense Production Act on Thursday to force suppliers of baby formula ingredients to prioritise manufacturers. According to a White House press release, he also instructed the Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) to make use of Defense Department aircraft in order to expedite the importation of infant formula.

The US has been faced with a nationwide shortage of baby formula since February, after supply chain issues stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic were exacerbated by a major product recall by one of the country’s main formula manufacturers, Abbott Laboratories.

Acting on reports of five cases of salmonella and two deaths attributed to Abbott products, the FDA ordered the company’s largest production facility in Sturgis, Michigan to suspend operations while it conducts an investigation.

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