Unexpected shortages throughout history

Emergency baby formula shipment arrives in US via military plane

Stars Insider

23/05/22 | StarsInsider

LIFESTYLE Deficit

Shortages of food and supplies are becoming more and more common, even in an era where the world has never been more connected. War, the impending climate disaster, and wealth inequality are all to blame for these shortages. While the world works to overcome these struggles and find ways to avoid or circumnavigate these issues, it's important to remember these problems aren't exactly new. Numerous times throughout history different items have run in short supply for different reasons, but they're not always the items you think, or for the reasons you think.

Hundreds of thousands of parents in the US are scrambling to find formula for their babies. The nationwide shortage of formula began with pandemic-related labor and supply-chain disruptions, but it was kicked into overdrive when Abbott Nutrition voluntarily recalled several widely sold baby formula brands, which knocked out a huge part of domestic supply. The shortage is proving to be an example of the problems that arise when few large suppliers and their exclusive contracts have a monopoly on the industry.

President Biden recently invoked the Defense Production Act to boost production of baby formula, and authorized the Defense Department to help fly formula in from overseas. The first of those shipments—over 70,000 lbs of Nestle hypoallergenic formulas—arrived from Europe in Indianapolis on May 22, and more are on the way. Abbott's major Michigan plant will reopen the first week of June, NPR reports. 

Let's look back on some notable shortages from history, and the events that caused them.

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