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Harmful Baby Formula Recipes Going Viral on Social Media: Bloomberg

Harmful Baby Formula Recipes Going Viral on Social Media: Bloomberg
  • Harmful DIY baby formula recipes are going viral on social media platforms, Bloomberg reported.
  • The posts are racking up thousands of views and hundreds of likes, according to the outlet.
  • Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube are not removing or labeling posts consistently, report says.

Harmful DIY baby formula recipes are going viral on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube as desperate parents look for alternatives amid shortages, Bloomberg has reported

The social media networks are removing or labeling misinformation posts on baby formula recipes on its platforms but are not doing it consistently, per the report.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised parents in February to not use certain powdered baby formulas after finding bacterial infections in infants which led to five hospitalizations and two deaths.

Abbott, whose brands Similac, Alimentum and EleCare were potentially affected, had issued a voluntary recall earlier that month.

Manufacturers including Abbott then recalled its baby formula products which led to shortages and retailers limiting purchases at its stores, making availability scarce.

Twitter posts on homemade baby formula rose by 2,100% from the first to the second week of May – which amounted to 5,000 tweets – Bloomberg found.

It found instructions on how to make baby formula at home on Twitter, TikTok, Youtube, Facebook and Instagram, with some posts racking up thousands of views and hundreds of likes. 

YouTube told Bloomberg videos which featured dangerous recipes defied its harmful content policies. Bloomberg reported it removed videos that the outlet had highlighted.

TikTok said it also scrapped videos that Bloomberg highlighted while Twitter told the outlet that they did not breach its misinformation policies but that it would review its practices over time.

A spokesperson from Facebook’s parent company, Meta, told Bloomberg it used external content reviewers to place warning labels on baby formula misinformation. 

President Joe Biden unveiled measures in May to address the formula shortages and invoked the Defense Production Act to give manufacturers priority to get key ingredients.

Robert Ford, the chief executive of Abbott, which produces baby formula, wrote in the Washington Post on Saturday that the company had “let down” families but believed that the voluntary recall was “the right thing to do.”

Biden also announced a measure to import baby formula from overseas, called Operation Fly Formula, with its first batch arriving this weekend from Europe.  

The FDA advises parents to not make or feed baby formula to infants as it has not been reviewed and could lack vital nutrients needed to support an infant’s growth.

Meta, TikTok and YouTube did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.