A New Website Is Hacking The Baby Formula Shortage

Just when anxious parents got word from the FDA Commissioner that baby formula might be returning to retail shelves next month after a crisis-level shortage, a massive thunderstorm had to go and flood parts of the Michigan plant where Abbott Laboratories bottles its popular EleCare formula (via NPR). The damage left the pharmaceutical company no choice but to stop production of EleCare just two weeks after it had opened up shop again following a two-pronged baby formula recall. The halt should only last for "a few weeks," according to a company statement, but try telling that to a parent with a hungry infant and a dwindling amount of formula at home. 

In its statement, Abbott claims to have "ample existing supply of EleCare" and "specialty and metabolic formulas" in storage, but the company is allocating that supply to healthcare professionals, who will distribute it to families in need. Luckily, busy parents who might not have time to go drugstore hopping or make an appointment with their local pediatrician can turn to a new website to find formula nearby. 

The site allows parents to find nearby formula by zip code

FindingFormula.org, which launched on June 16, compiles inventory data from major retailers and allows parents to search for the closest supply of baby formula by state, zip code, preferred formula brand, and other specifiers, a rep told Mashed. 

The site came to fruition rather quickly thanks to its creator Gabe Wight. He founded the e-commerce data platform Webata and has experienced the effects of the formula shortage first-hand. "He got a family call that his nephew (whose health conditions only allow him to drink one specific brand of formula) needed help," said the rep. "Gabe knew his platform could gather the data, so using a powerful analytics tool his company commissions, he was able to gather and analyze the data in minutes and find his nephew food." The rep added that the website will be updated with additional retailers "in the coming days," and "will be made well to make the data more comprehensive." Provided it delivers on its mission, this site could provide a significant weight off of parents' backs as they wait for the national formula supply to return to normal.