Baby food brands in usa

Jars, Pouches, Organic, and More

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After months of breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, it can be surprising to realize that your still-tiny baby is actually ready for “real” food. This exciting (albeit messy!) transition may be a little bittersweet and can feel overwhelming, especially considering the numerous baby food options available in 2022.

We’ve rounded up some of this year’s best baby foods to help you get started on the right foot — er, spoon.

Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend exclusively breastfeeding babies for the first 6 months of life. Formula-fed infants are ready to start solid foods when they start showing signs that they’re ready.

In some cases, you may start solids around 4 or 5 months, but it’s best to discuss this with your pediatrician. If your doctor doesn’t have a different recommendation, most babies are ready to start soft or pureed foods by the time they’re about 6 months old.

If you’re picking commercially prepared baby food (versus making your own), it’s wise to start with simple, one-ingredient baby food. Most commercial baby food is labeled stage 1, 2, or 3 based on the texture and number of ingredients.

For instance, stage 1 baby food has the smoothest texture and typically has one ingredient, such as pureed pears. So, for your 4- to 6-month-old, you’ll want to start with stage 1 baby food.

Starting with one food at a time helps you monitor for any adverse reactions or food allergies. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends monitoring each food for 3 to 5 days.

There isn’t really a perfect first food — the choice is yours! Some good foods to start: infant cereal (preferably oat or whole grain), meat purees such as chicken or turkey, or single-ingredient purees of fruits or veggies.

If you’re debating whether to start with fruits or veggies first, the AAP suggests that an infant’s preferences for sweets won’t budge even if veggies are introduced first. Mashed peas just don’t taste as good once you’ve had applesauce.

We chatted with pediatricians, read the research, polled real-life parents, read reviews, and used our own babies as taste testers (although we can’t say their opinions on nutritional value are very authoritative) to bring you some of the top baby food brands available. In addition:

  • We looked for foods that are certified USDA organic and have non-GMO verified ingredients.
  • We focused on baby food that’s free of added sugar (but have called out one or two products that contain it).
  • The baby foods on our list are free of harmful preservatives.
  • We called out the brands that market their products as gluten-free and allergen-free.

All products are also vetted by our medical standards team, which evaluates brand integrity and product safety.

Reducing Exposure to Toxic Elements in Baby Foods

Three brands in this article — Gerber, Beech-Nut, and Happy Baby — were mentioned in a February 2021 Congressional Report for products containing significantly high levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. The FDA has since launched the Closer to Zero: Action Plan for Baby Foods to address exposure to toxic elements from eating baby foods.

  • Best overall baby food: Beech-Nut Naturals Stage 1
  • Best organic baby food pouches: Plum Organics Stage 1
  • Best budget-friendly baby food: Gerber Organic 1st Foods
  • Best baby food for constipation: Gerber Natural 1st Foods (Pear)
  • Best organic jarred baby food: Happy Baby Organics Clearly Crafted Stage 1
  • Best personalized subscription service: Cerebelly
  • Best fresh baby food: Once Upon a Farm Cold-Pressed Organic Baby Food
  • Best first baby cereal: Gerber Organic 1st Foods Single Grain Cereal
  • Best, most interesting baby food blends: Little Spoon Complex Solids
  • Best all-around clean baby food: Baby Gourmet

Best overall baby food

Beech-Nut Naturals Stage 1

This affordable baby food is an all-around fan favorite. Beech-Nut baby foods come in recyclable glass jars and are available in both natural and organic varieties. Blends are available in every stage, from single-ingredient foods for brand-new eaters (like butternut squash and plum) to multi-food blends with chunkier textures for older babies.

The ingredients in Beech-Nut baby foods are simple, with no artificial additives. Plus, these little glass jars are available at most grocery stores, so they’re easy to find. However, while it’s great for recycling purposes, glass can be dangerous — always supervise your little one around glass.

Beech-Nut Naturals are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) but not certified organic (unless you shop their organics line). They contain no added sugar.

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Best organic baby food pouches

Plum Organics Stage 1

If sustainability, organic foods, and non-GMO ingredients are important to you, Plum Organics has a great line of baby food options to try.

Their BPA-free pouches are super convenient and available in a variety of fruits, veggies, and grains for each stage of eating. These foods have no added salts or sugars, so they’re nutritious and simple for baby’s maturing digestive system. They’re also widely available and can be purchased in bulk for greater savings.

And while feeding experts definitely discourage using pouches exclusively, there’s no denying that pouches are very convenient for occasional on-the-go feedings. To make sure your baby is still progressing in their journey through solid foods, try squeezing the pouch contents into a spoon. And be sure to watch out for the small plastic caps, as they’re a choking hazard.

Plum Organics is certified organic and non-GMO, and their baby food doesn’t contain added sugar.

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Best budget-friendly baby food

Gerber Organic 1st Foods

Gerber is the classic baby food brand, and they’ve made changes over the last few years to make their food more health-conscious (e. g., starting an organic line). Yet they have maintained their status as one of the most affordable prepared baby food brands on the market.

They offer benefits like glass jars, organic ingredients, and a wide variety of food choices at a lower cost than some other brands on our list.

Gerber Organic is USDA organic, non-GMO, and free of added sugar.

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Best baby food for constipation

Gerber Natural 1st Foods (Pear)

Sometimes babies get a little constipated when they’re beginning their solid food journey, especially if they’re eating a lot of dairy or iron-fortified cereal. In addition to continuing breast milk, some foods may help relieve your little one’s digestive discomfort, including all the “P” fruits.

So prunes, pears, plums, and peaches are some options to help keep tiny bowels on the move. You can find great fruit purees in any brand on our list, but one of the more cost-effective is the Gerber brand. The good news is that many babies love fruit, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get your little one to down some prunes or pears.

This product is made with non-GMO ingredients and pears grown with Clean Field Farming practices. It doesn’t contain added sugars.

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Best organic jarred baby food

Happy Baby Organics Clearly Crafted Stage 1

Another great organic baby food option, the Happy Baby company offers their organic baby food jars at most stores — although not quite as widely as Beech-Nut and Plum Organics.

Happy Baby jars offer a wide variety of foods, from kale and mango to spinach and peaches and chia seeds. You can start with their single-ingredient jars (this is important for ruling out allergies, as well as to help baby learn to like spinach even when it’s not disguised by pears). Then, you can move on to their fruit and veggie blends as your little one grows.

High quality ingredients, creative flavors, and no artificial ingredients all make Happy Baby a solid (no pun intended) choice.

Happy Baby is USDA organic and doesn’t contain added sugars.

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Best personalized subscription service


Cerebelly allows you to personalize your subscription of baby food pouches based on your child’s age, leaning on science to determine what foods will benefit them at their stage of development.

You’ll take a quiz that asks about the current development and language cues your baby is showing (responding to their name, grasping toys, using noises to show emotion, etc.). It also asks about motor, social, and visual skills.

The results will clue you in on key nutrients that may benefit your little one and customize your baby food pouches based on this.

To boot, the brand has earned the Clean Label Project Purity Award (which evaluates products for toxins and contaminants), is certified USDA organic, and contains no added sugars.

Shop now at Cerebelly

Best fresh baby food

Once Upon a Farm Cold-Pressed Organic Baby Food

These organic, cold-pressed baby food pouches and cups are found in the refrigerated section at your grocery store (and yes, they have to be refrigerated at home). The company also has a subscription delivery option to make baby food even more convenient for your busy schedule.

Creative names like Wild Rumpus Avocado and Magic Velvet Mango will have you smiling, and the variety of flavors will (hopefully!) appeal to your little one. Once Upon a Farm offers a variety of food stages, so you can start with their purees and move on up to their finger and toddler foods as your baby grows.

Once Upon a Farm is certified organic and non-GMO. Their products contain no added sugars and are Clean Label Project certified.

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Best first baby cereal

Gerber Organic 1st Foods Single Grain Cereal

This simple cereal is a great first food for baby. You can mix this one-ingredient whole grain cereal with breast milk, formula, or water to provide your little one with some crucial nutrients (such as iron) and experience with spoons and textures.

The AAP recommends oatmeal or multigrain cereals over rice cereals, as they have a lower risk of exposure to chemicals such as arsenic (which is sometimes a concern with rice products).

As your baby gets used to other foods, you can also mix this cereal with fruit or yogurt to provide a heartier meal.

Gerber Organic is certified USDA organic and non-GMO, but this product does contain some added sugars.

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Best, most interesting baby food blends

Little Spoon Complex Solids

Once your baby is ready for more advanced blends, Little Spoon has a unique line of complex blends that contain multiple purees as well as other seeds and grains for texture.

For example, one blend contains quinoa, butternut squash, and apple. Another contains kale, white bean, pear, basil, quinoa, and avocado oil.

Little Spoon purees use certified organic and non-GMO ingredients. They’re free of added sugar.

Shop now at Little Spoon

Best all-around clean baby food

Baby Gourmet

Baby Gourmet is another Clean Label Project Purity Award winner, which means they go above and beyond to ensure their baby food is free of harmful toxins that naturally occur in the environment.

This Canadian company is also set to donate 1 million meals to vulnerable populations by 2025. It’s founded and run by moms, which can be reassuring.

Baby Gourmet is certified organic and non-GMO by both U.S. and Canadian standards. All packaging is BPA-free. Products contain no added sugar.

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As a general guideline, it’s a good idea to start with iron-fortified baby cereals or pureed meats if your infant is breastfed. Breastfed babies are more likely to need extra iron than formula-fed babies.

It’s also advisable to start with simple, single-ingredient purees of meat, vegetables, and fruits.

Choosing brands that are certified organic, use BPA-free materials, and are conscious of using whole food ingredients (e.g., they don’t add “extras” like salt, sugar, or corn syrup) helps ensure a healthy start for your little one.

According to the AAP, you shouldn’t give babies under age 1 cow’s milk, honey, unpasteurized dairy, or undercooked meat, as these can be an infection risk for a baby’s developing immune system.

You’ll also want to avoid foods that are hard or sharp or present a choking risk (for instance, chips, nuts, popcorn, raisins, raw apples, raw carrots, whole grapes, hot dogs). For a more comprehensive guide to which foods to give and what to avoid, check out our article on infant nutrition and starting solids.

While experts used to advise waiting to introduce highly allergenic foods (such as dairy, wheat, nuts, and eggs) until after the first year, the experts now say that delayed introduction of these foods may increase a child’s risk of food allergies. So, with the guidance of your pediatrician, go ahead and introduce those foods within the first year.

Seek immediate emergency medical attention if you notice swelling of the tongue and mouth, wheezing, or trouble breathing after your child eats certain foods

Some babies are raring to go when it comes to trying food, while others may take a little more convincing. Either way, definitely get your camera on video mode, as there are bound to be some hilarious faces and some impressive food spillage along the way.

Here are some pro tips to help make the process as smooth as possible:

  • Wait until your baby shows signs of readiness for solid food.
  • Keep trying. It can take 5 to 10 exposures for a baby to accept a new food.
  • Make it fun and silly.
  • Cook and eat as a family as much as possible.
  • Let your baby play with the spoon and even the food! While incredibly messy, this helps them get comfortable with the textures, smells, and tastes of new foods.
  • Talk with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns. They’re a great resource and want to help you grow a happy, healthy baby.

What’s the best baby food for growth and weight gain?

If your baby is under 6 months and breastfeeding, it’s recommended that you stick to that exclusively for 6 months. When you’re ready to introduce solids after 6 months, it should be in addition to breastfeeding and formula, not as a replacement.

If your baby is formula-fed, they may begin eating solids sooner than 6 months. While no one specific food is recommended, a variety of foods and colors is best, including meats, vegetables, and fruits. One of the key foods that can help with growth and weight gain is avocados (high in healthy fats and fiber but low in sugar).

Always discuss your baby’s dietary changes with your pediatrician and attend regular checkups to monitor growth.

What’s the easiest food for babies to digest?

Just like adults, babies do best with regular bowel movements. If they’re having a hard time with this, oatmeal is one food known to be easy to digest and promote regularity, as it contains higher amounts of dietary fiber.

It may also help to focus on quantity. Try feeding your baby smaller meals more often, rather than fewer larger meals. This may be easier on their system and allow them to digest foods more easily.

What’s the best baby food to start with?

Mashed banana and avocado are some of the most popular solids to start with. Soft, ground oatmeal is also great. When it comes to fruit and vegetable purees, focus on variety, but don’t overdo it with those that are naturally high in sugar (such as berry purees).

Most importantly, at 6 months old, all foods should still be pureed and cooked. Once your baby is 9 months old and older, you can start to introduce vegetables cut into pieces. The only other no-no is honey, which they shouldn’t have until they’re over a year old.

It can feel like a lot of pressure to choose the best nutrition for your child, especially when trying to capitalize on the years before they start demanding chicken nuggets and ice cream. But there are a lot of great, healthy options available in 2022.

Whether you choose to make your own baby food, buy jars or pouches, or use a baby food subscription service, there are a number of resources to help you feed your baby.

Top 10 Best Baby Food Brands in the World 2022, Top Baby Food Makers

Here is a ranking of the best baby food brands in the world based on various factors, including production, revenue, and market leadership.


1.    Gerber

Gerber (owned by Nestlé) ranks number one on this list of the top 10 best baby food brands in the world in 2022. Gerber is one of the most popular and trusted brands of baby food products in the world. It has been around since 1927 and was started by Dorothy Hinde and her husband Frank Gerber. The brand was acquired by Nestlé in 2007 for USD 5.5 billion but continues to operate under its name as part of Nestlé’s Health Nutrition Division. The brand is sold globally and is especially popular in North America, where it has been the most popular baby food brand since the 1980s.

  • Headquarters: Florham Park, New Jersey, United States


2.    Beech-Nut

Beech-Nut ranks 2nd on this list of the top 10 baby food companies in the world. Beech-Nut is a manufacturer of baby food and toddler snacks, founded in 1887 as Beech-Nut Packing Company in Rochester, New York. Beech-Nut products are manufactured at facilities throughout the United States and Canada. The company markets its products under several brands: Beech-Nut Nutrition (infant formula), Earth’s Best Organic (organic formula), Parents Choice (organic formula), Good Start Supreme (potentially allergenic formula), Happy Baby (organic pouches and finger foods), Happy Tot (finger foods), Earth’s Best Organic Stage 1 Baby Food Pouches and Snacks (baby food pouches) and Simply Organic Snacks (snacks).

  • Headquarters: Amsterdam, New York, United States


3.    Happy Family

Happy Family (owned by Danone) ranks 3rd on this list of the top 10 best baby food brands in the world in 2022. Happy Family is a baby food brand owned by Danone. It is available in over 60 countries and is one of the fastest-growing brands in the world. The company was acquired by Danone in 2017 for $1 billion, but it continues to operate independently as a subsidiary.

Happy Family produces over 80 products under its Happy Family brand. The company also produces organic foods under its Earth’s Best Organic brand, which is a subsidiary of Danone North America. It offers organic baby foods in its product lines, including Happy Tot Organic Baby Food, Happy Kid Organic Toddler Food, and Happy Tots Organic Baby Food Pouches. The company also offers organic snacks for adults under its Earth’s Best Organic brand line, which includes snacks such as granola bars and crackers.

Happy Family has won numerous awards, including being named the Best Baby Food Brand of 2019 by Parents magazine.

  • Headquarters: New York, New York, United States


4.    Plum Organics

Plum Organics ranks 4th on this list of the best baby food brands of 2022. Plum Organics is the baby food brand of Campbell Soup Company. It was launched in 2004 and is known for its organic, non-GMO, gluten-free products. The company sells its products through grocery stores, mass merchandisers, and specialty retailers nationwide as well as online at

The company also offers a line of frozen toddler meals, including macaroni & cheese and lasagna dinners.

Plum Organics has won numerous awards for its baby food products, including Best Organic Baby Food from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) in 2015 and 2016 and Best Organic Baby Food Product from Natural Products Expo West in 2016.

  • Headquarters: California, United States


5.    Earth’s Best

Earth’s Best ranks 5th on this list of the best baby food brands. Earth’s Best is a brand of baby foods, infant formula, and toddler foods. It is owned by Hain Celestial Group and was founded in 1978. Earth’s Best offers a variety of products including baby food pouches and jars, teething biscuits, pureed fruits and vegetables, toddler snacks, and organic formulas. The company also produces products for infants with allergies or intolerances to dairy or soy.

Earth’s Best has won several awards including the National Parenting Publications Awards for Best Baby Food Brand in 2016 and 2017. Earth’s Best is one of the leading brands of baby food in the United States, with about $50 million in annual sales. The company also produces organic and gluten-free products for adults and children.

  • Headquarters: New York, United States


Related: Get Free Insights for the Leading Animal Food Companies


6.    Parent’s Choice (owned by Walmart)

Parent’s Choice (owned by Walmart) ranks 6th on this list of the top 10 largest baby food brands in the world. Parent’s Choice is a brand of baby food that has been sold in the United States since 1990. It is currently owned by Walmart, and it has won multiple awards for its products.

Parent’s Choice has been named one of the best baby food brands by both Parents magazine and Baby Zone. It also offers a range of organic products certified by the USDA. Parent’s Choice offers a variety of baby foods including cereal, fruits, and vegetables, jarred meats, and meals such as chicken or beef teriyaki with rice. The company also produces toddler snacks such as puffs, crackers, and pretzel sticks.

  • Headquarters: Bentonville, Arkansas, United States


7.    Cerebelly

Cerebelly ranks 7th on this list of the best baby food brands in the world. The brand is owned by Nestle and has been producing cereals since the 1940s. Cerebelly offers a wide range of products for babies, toddlers, and adults.

Cerebelly’s products are made with organic ingredients that are free from artificial flavors and preservatives. This makes them suitable for infants who are allergic to common food additives such as gluten and soy.

The company also offers a wide range of meals in jars that can be stored at room temperature for up to one year without spoiling. These products are available in three different flavors; fruits, vegetables, and grains, so you can choose what suits your child best depending on their age.

Cerebelly also offers snacks for kids aged two years old and above who have outgrown baby food but still need nutrition to fuel their growing bodies. These include bars, granola bars, fruit snacks, yogurt, and more.

  • Headquarters: Los Gatos, California, United States


8.    Baby Gourmet

Baby Gourmet is a leading Canadian manufacturer of baby food and toddler snacks. The company was founded in 1989 by two brothers, John and Paul Gunn. They were inspired to create their own baby food after their father had a heart attack and their mother had to give up working because of the stress.

Today, Baby Gourmet sells its products in over 50 countries around the world. Its headquarters are in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The company employs more than 1,000 people worldwide who work at its main facility in Switzerland.

In addition to making its brand of baby food, Baby Gourmet also manufactures private label products for several major retailers around the world including Walmart, Target, and Costco.

Baby Gourmet ranks 8th on this list of the top 10 largest baby food companies in the world in 2022 with estimated revenues of USD 1 billion annually

  • Headquarters: Calgary, Alberta, Canada


9.    Once Upon a Farm

Once Upon a Farm ranks 9th on this list of the top 10 best baby food brands in the world in 2022. Once Upon a Farm is a brand of organic baby food. It was founded in 2004 by Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian, author, and nutritionist. The company is based in Chicago and sells its products through a network of independent distributors.

Once Upon a Farm has been featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things list for several years running. It also won the Best Brand award at Expo West 2016 in Anaheim, California, and the Best Organic Baby Food Award from the National Association of Specialty Food Trade (NASFT).

The company currently offers more than 50 different products for babies and toddlers, including organic fruit pouches, organic purees, and organic baby cereals. These include apple & cinnamon puree; apricot & peach puree; banana & blueberry puree; sweet potato & carrot puree; pumpkin pie baby cereal; apple cinnamon oatmeal cereal; banana oatmeal cereal; sweet potato oatmeal cereal; green peas rice cereal; mixed berry rice cereal; blueberry oatmeal cereal; sweet potato oatmeal crisp granola bars; and many more.

  • Headquarters: Springdale, Arkansas, United States


10.  Happy Family Organics

Rounding out this list of the top 10 best baby food brands in the world in 2022 is Happy Family Organics. This brand has been around since 2005, and it prides itself on being a family-owned business that focuses on making organic products for babies and young children.

The company’s mission is to provide infants with healthy food choices to ensure that their bodies are getting the right nutrients to develop properly. They have a wide variety of products, including fruit purees, veggies, grain cereals, meaty meals, and more. The brand also has an entire line dedicated just to toddlers aged one to three years old.

  • Headquarters: New York City, New York, United States


This is BizVibe’s list of the top 10 best baby food brands in the world. Baby food manufacturers are focusing on increasing the health benefits of their products through the use of organic ingredients and other natural additives. One company that has made this shift already is Plum Organics, which recently launched an organic line of fruit pouches with 100% Certified Organic Fruit Juice and no added sugar or artificial flavors or colors. “We’re seeing more and more parents looking for ways to reduce their child’s exposure to harsh chemicals,” says Plum Organic’s Director of Marketing in an interview with FoodNavigator-USA. ”It’s not just about organic but about being able to make choices about what goes into your child’s diet.” Big companies like Plum Organics and Gerber have found success in the baby food market by targeting parents with the right strategies. Research how these companies approach baby food and draw inspiration from their methods.

There is a severe shortage of powdered infant formula in America

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The situation with infant formula has become so critical that Senator Tom Cotton has already called it a "national crisis", Congress began an investigation, and President Biden was forced to announce measures to curb the deficit.


Deliveries of infant formula to stores have been so reduced that large retail chains and pharmacies are forced to limit the number of cans "in one hand." For example, CVS and Walgreens only sell three packages of dry mix at a time. According to Datasembly, a company that tracks price indexes and sales of various products, in the first week of May, the lack of milk formula in warehouses across the country was 43% (for comparison, in April - 40%, and in November last year - 11%). Worst of all is the situation with warehouses in the states of Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Texas and Tennessee. Accordingly, prices rose sharply - by 18%. On eBay, some savvy sellers offer a $200 can of powdered formula, and there are sure to be buyers: in the US, three-quarters of children receive either full or partial formula in their first six months of life. Worst of all are those families whose children, for medical reasons, cannot eat anything other than these mixtures.

Abbott fights bacteria

What caused this crisis? The official version, which we already wrote about: in February, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that certain mixtures of Similac (Similac), Alimentum (Alimentum) and EleCare (EleCare) are contaminated with the dangerous bacterium Cronobacter sakazakii, which can lead to death. Four kids were hospitalized, two died. Abbott Nutrition has announced a voluntary recall of some batches of this baby food that was produced at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan (these powdered formulas were found to be contaminated). In early March, several more dry mixes produced at the same plant were recalled due to Salmonella contamination.

Bacteria in baby food is not uncommon. Back in 2004, the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFA) of the World Health Organization revised the International Code of Hygienic Practice for Foods for Infants and Older Children, tightening the requirements, including due to cases of contamination of mixtures with bacteria. A review of Abbott's records shows that the company has had to destroy batches of premixed formulas in the past due to the presence of Cronobacter. In addition, in February, the FDA emphasized that the recall only applies to dry powder from certain batches, and does not apply to liquid infant formula and other baby foods manufactured by Abbott Nutrition. In other words, it is hard to imagine that a temporary shutdown of the production line of several (!) dry mixes at one plant can lead to such a large-scale national crisis. Not to mention the fact that other manufacturing companies were not affected by the recall, and they continue to produce their products.

Furthermore, the company's official statement dated May 11 states: “After a close examination of the situation, there is no evidence that these cases [infant deaths - Ed.] are related to the consumption of our baby food; the bacterium Cronobacter sakazakii, which was found during testing, was in areas not in contact with products. The bacterial samples found at the plant did not match the strains found in the babies' tests. An Abbott spokesperson also said that all products tested for Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella were negative and that no Salmonella was found at the Sturgis facility during the investigation.

However, the FDA insisted that infant formula was produced in unsanitary conditions, and Abbott's internal records showed that the company destroyed some of its products due to bacteria in the factory. On May 16, Abbot reached an agreement with the FDA that allowed the production lines to restart. The company reportedly acknowledged that the plant had unsanitary conditions and is committed to rectifying the shortcomings. In addition, Abbott has agreed to engage external experts who will develop a plan to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination at the plant and conduct periodic assessments to ensure the company is in compliance. In the event that any products again test positive for bacteria, the company will be required to dispose of them and stop work until the source of infection is eliminated. If Abbott fails to comply, it faces $30,000 in damages for each day of violation (up to $5 million in annual fines). The terms of the agreement are valid for at least 5 years.

FDA chief Robert Kaliff stated, "The public can be assured that our FDA will do everything possible to ensure that baby food continues to meet safety and quality standards." The agreement between Abbott and the FDA has been approved by the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan. However, it’s too early for parents to rejoice: Abbot said that a restart is possible within two weeks, and mixtures will appear on store shelves no earlier than in 6-8 weeks.

Broken logistics and monopolies

Another reason that is less talked about is disruptions in the supply chain. Everything affects: a critical shortage of labor (which we have already written about more than once), problems with the production of packaging and transportation. All this together affects the production and distribution of goods. According to Datasembly CEO Ben Reich, "the economic situation affects this category of goods more than others."

The crisis has reached such proportions that even the federal authorities were forced to react. On May 12, President Joe Biden met with representatives from Walmart, Target, Reckitt and Gerber to discuss ways to reduce the deficit. He also instructed the Federal Trade Commission to use its powers to monitor allegations of price gouging and the Justice Department to work with state attorneys general to crack down on retailers who took advantage of the situation.

On May 13, the House Oversight Committee announced that it had launched an investigation into the baby food situation. Letters were sent to all four manufacturers asking them to explain how they plan to handle the crisis and what they are doing to prevent this from happening in the future. In addition, the Committee will also investigate allegations received from consumers of price gouging. The meeting of the Committee on this issue is scheduled for May 26.

At the same time, the recall of goods for one reason or another is a common occurrence. Thousands of medicines and products are withdrawn from sale every year, and yet there is no nationwide crisis, and sellers do not restrict the sale of essential items in the spirit of Soviet trade.

Four large companies now control 90% of America's supply of infant formula: Abbott, Mead Johnson, Gerber and Perrigo Nutritionals. Abbott, which makes Similac, and Mead Johnson, which makes Enfamil, have nearly 80% of the market. Mead Johnson has already stated, “We have taken steps to ramp up production of Enfamil and are currently shipping 50% more products to address consumer concerns as quickly as possible.” Considering how the prices for dry mixes have risen, the crisis is beneficial for all manufacturing companies.

Importing baby food will be easier

Another factor in the crisis is America's regulatory and trade policies. The FDA regulation of infant formula is so strict that most products coming from Europe cannot be bought here due to technical issues such as labeling requirements. There is no question about the quality of European blends: studies have shown that in some respects they can even be better than American ones, because the European Union bans certain types of sugar (for example, corn syrup). The US also restricts the import of formulas that comply with FDA regulations. For large volumes, the import tax for mixtures can exceed 17%. Currently up to 98% of the baby food on the market is made in the USA. And during a crisis, the lack of alternative supplies becomes a rather big problem.

Therefore, for the first time, an unprecedented step is announced - the US intends to increase imports of infant formula in order to reduce the nationwide shortage. Potential importers in the FDA are manufacturers from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the Netherlands. On May 16, the FDA called on foreign manufacturers to apply to import their products into the United States. It is reported (however, without going into details) that the verification process will be "optimized". White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that "priority will be given to applications from those companies most likely to be able to prove product quality and be able to get the most baby food to American stores as quickly as possible." Thus, the advantage will be given to large manufacturing companies, which will be able to quickly cover the shortage that has arisen.

However, even if import applications and related documentation confirming the safety of mixtures are submitted, relatively speaking, tomorrow, it may be weeks before the products reach the stores. Once the application is filed, the FDA will still need to review the baby food to ensure quality control to American standards. The import facilitation policy was adopted as a temporary measure for the next six months.

In the meantime, parents of babies rush about in search of baby food, politicians from all sides have decided to use the crisis to their advantage. So, Republican Congresswoman Kat Cammack posted a video on her Facebook account about how the federal authorities send packages of baby food to the border with Mexico: “American stores have empty shelves, there is no shortage at the border. ” Cammack said the Biden administration should not put the needs of illegal immigrants ahead of the interests of American citizens. Another Republican politician, Rep. Eliza Stefanik, also said it was "absolutely unacceptable" and drew a parallel with Trump's famous slogan, "America continues to be put last." In turn, Democratic politicians Eric Svolvell and Ruben Gallego accused Eliza of wanting to "starve babies" in border centers where illegal immigrants are detained.

Only one thing can be said with certainty: even with the increase in production and the “green” light for imports, the situation with the shortage of infant formula will not change in the next couple of weeks.


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how the United States allowed a shortage of infant formula

"Hungry children of the superpower" - articles with such headings actually flooded all the world's media. The fact is that in the United States for several months there has been an acute shortage of food for the smallest, and in May the volume of supply of infant formula dropped to catastrophic levels - almost twice.

The crisis is so serious that in some regions of the country "artificial milk" is delivered by military aircraft from Europe, and the parents of others are offered to feed their babies ... with cow's milk, warning that it is dangerous. American mothers spend hours every day looking for food for their babies, they dilute formulas and underfeed their babies. What happened in well-fed America, and is the same going on for Russia?

Lethal mixtures

Experts from different countries are unanimous in their opinion: the causes of the crisis in the US baby food market are exclusively internal - monopoly in the economy, plus excessive, but, as it turned out, ineffective government regulation, as well as protectionism.

It all started when, in the fall of 2021, four parents filed a complaint with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that their children had contracted a rare and dangerous bacterial infection, Cronobacter sakazakii, after taking infant formula. which resulted in death in two cases. Another application was filed by the parents of an infant who was hospitalized with E. coli Salmonella Newport.

However, Abbott Nutrition, the largest manufacturer of infant formula in the United States, did not arrive until January 31, 2022, with management inspectors checking. They found five different strains of Cronobacter there and identified serious food safety violations, or, as FDA Executive Director Dr. Robert Kaliff called them, "blatant unsanitary conditions": a leaking roof, standing water on the floor, and cracked production equipment.

A photo: AP

At the end of the review, in mid-February, Abbott Nutrition, remarkably, voluntarily recalled batches of goods from stores and suspended the production line until the problem was corrected.

As a result, the country was left without a supplier for about 20% of all produced mixtures for many months. And since 90% of the American formula market is controlled by only four large companies - that same Abbot, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Nestle USA and Perrigo - the closure of even one plant has predictably led to a sharp reduction in production and disruption of supply chains.

The scale of the disaster

According to the Datasembly service, by the beginning of May, the shortage of mixtures in 11 thousand stores in the United States reached 43%. At the moment, already in 25 states, food for babies is not available in 40-50% of stores, and in five states - in more than half of the outlets. The mayor of New York at the end of May introduced a state of emergency in the city, prohibiting, in particular, retailers from raising prices for scarce goods. “We want to tell mothers and families who are struggling that our city will do everything in its power to help you get through this difficult time,” said Eric Adams.

But parents of infants across the US continue to complain on social media, calling for media coverage and political action, posting photos of empty store shelves as the nation's infant formula shortage continues to worsen despite government encouragement.

A photo: AP

"The problem is exacerbated by supply chain issues, product recalls and inflation at historic levels," said Ben Reich, CEO of analytics firm Datasembly. Many retailers have already restricted formula milk sales. For example, CVS and Walgreens pharmacy chains reported that they now sell no more than three packs in one hand, Target supermarket - no more than four packs in one order when buying via the Internet. The FDA cites data that baby food manufacturers Gerber (USA) and Reckitt (UK) have increased the production of infant formula since the beginning of the year - by 50% and 30%, respectively. But this does not contribute at all to the way out of the crisis.

According to experts, the main problem is that the manufacturers remaining in the US market do not make enough formulas, including for children with metabolic diseases, allergies and other conditions that require a special diet. News portal Minnesota Public Radio reports that due to nutritional problems, there are already cases of hospitalization of children in Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin and other states.

It is obvious that for a reason the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an investigation into the shortage in the infant formula market. The FTC intends to determine if anyone has used formula shortages to drive up prices, if anyone has prevented formula from reaching brick-and-mortar stores, if federal agencies have inadvertently contributed to the shortage in any way, or state authorities.

Powerless Authorities

On May 18, US President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act, which allows businesses to be forced to fulfill certain orders, and authorized the use of Department of Defense aircraft to deliver products from abroad. It also required suppliers to send ingredients to infant formula manufacturers before any other companies.

Why did Biden go to such extreme measures? Because the ability of the federal authorities to influence private business, especially urgently, is limited, experts state. In fact, the administration used its own problem-solving experience that it gained during the pandemic in 2020, when the country needed to increase the production of respirators, masks, ventilators and other means to combat COVID-19.

A photo: Others

Indeed, on May 23, the first plane landed at the Indianapolis airport (Indiana), delivering 35.4 thousand kg of Nestle lactose-free hypoallergenic food from Europe. But this supply can only cover 15% of the weekly requirement for such mixtures. Agriculture Minister Tom Vilsack, in an interview with NBC News, said that this amount would be enough for 9,000 babies and 18,000 toddlers within 7 days. Another batch of Nestle mixtures should be delivered from Europe to the United States by the logistics company FedEx - its plane with this cargo will fly from the Ramstein military base in Germany.

The indignation of Americans knows no bounds. FoxNews journalists blame US Secretary of Health and Human Services Javier Becerra, who is in charge of the FDA, for the empty shelves: according to them, he did nothing for months.

"Why does a person with zero experience in healthcare run the largest medical department in the country?" - outraged in live broadcasts a well-known leading and conservative political commentator Stuart Varney. “Another question arises: when did President Biden learn about the growing deficit? The aides must have told him about it. Is he being misinformed or is he dragging his feet again?” Varney demands an answer.

A photo: iStock

According to The Washington Post, Abbott CEO Robert Ford apologized for the shortfall and pledged to set up a $5 million fund to help affected families cover medical and living expenses until the supply crisis is resolved.

It also became known that Abbot, who provoked the crisis, agreed with the FDA to reopen its plant in Michigan in early June. However, it will take six to eight weeks before retail mix deliveries start. Many experts and laymen advise America to resolve children's issues within the country and not to get involved in the affairs of other countries.

Russia is safe

After the closure of the plant in the US, the company's branch in Israel, Abbott Israel, announced the withdrawal of mixtures of Similac Alimentum and Similac HMF (Human Milk Fortifier), produced at the same Michigan plant.

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