DANGEROUS homemade baby formula recipes are spreading on social media as the ongoing nationwide baby shortage sparks a crisis response from the federal government.
The rapid explosion of unsafe home recipes for infant formula circulating online has left many concerned about dangerous health effects, triggering warnings from officials and experts.
In recent weeks, as news of the formula shortage spreads, videos advertising ways to make the essential dietary item are cropping up in droves on sites like YouTube and TikTok.
While some social media companies have said they would slap warning notices on the videos, Bloomberg says the efforts have been “inconsistent.”
“Major networks like Facebook, TikTok and YouTube have taken steps to label photos, videos and posts with contextual information pointing to the harms of such recipes, and in some cases removed them,” the report reads.
“They have done so inconsistently, allowing the advice to continue spreading and putting children at risk.”
According to the media outlet, YouTube deleted from its platform the videos that Bloomberg had covered and TikTok told the outlet it had done the same.
“YouTube told Bloomberg videos which featured dangerous recipes defied its harmful content policies,” the report said.
The website reiterated its efforts in a statement to Insider saying:
“We remove content that promotes, sells, or provides instructions for making homemade baby formula under our Harmful & Dangerous policies. Accordingly, we removed the videos raised by Bloomberg.”
Meanwhile, a Meta representative speaking on behalf of Facebook said “external content reviewers” had added “warning labels” on videos containing baby formula-related disinfo.
The search for alternative means of procuring or producing formula has stemmed from the ongoing formula shortage.
The shortage was sparked in large part by a massive recall and plant shut down at an Abbott Laboratories facility that manufactures infant formula.
In recent days, the federal government has marshaled in significant resources to increase the formula supply.
President Joseph Biden and his administration flew 70,000 lbs of formula into the country from German on Sunday.
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Baby formula ingredients are highly specified to ensure newborns get enough nutrients to enable proper development.
Doctors and health experts agree that these formulas cannot be replicated with unevaluated homemade versions.
Despite the consensus that homemade formulas are dangerous for infants, the people behind the viral social medias continue to make inaccurate claims about their concoctions.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, homemade formulas can lack the essential nutrients that a baby needs in order to grow.
The federal agency has advised parents and caregivers not to make or feed homemade formula to their babies.
“Parents or caregivers of infants who have consumed a homemade infant formula should contact their healthcare provider and report any symptoms to their local Health Department,” the FDA said in the February statement.
The FDA says it has recorded adverse event reports pertaining babies who became low on calcium and had to be admitted to the hospital because of ingesting homemade formula.
TikTok said it also scrapped videos that Bloomberg highlighted while Twitter told the outlet that they did not breach its misinformation policies, according to Business Insider.
“The potential problems with homemade formulas include contamination and absence of or inadequate amounts of critical nutrients,” the FDA said.
“These problems are very serious.”
In some cases, problems related to homemade formula could result in death of the infant.