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Fact Check-Image of warehouse filled with boxes taken in 2020 is unconnected to 2022 baby formula shortage in U.S.

An image of a warehouse filled with cardboard boxes being shared online was not taken in May 2022 and is unconnected to the shortage in baby formula in the United States. The photograph dates to April 2020 and shows a stockpile of medical masks in Los Angeles.

The nationwide baby formula shortages have been caused by product recalls and further compounded by supply chain issues and heightened inflation (here), (here).

By the end of April, 40% of baby formula products were out of stock across the country, according to data firm Datasembly (here).

Users shared an image of a warehouse filled with cardboard boxes, saying that the photograph shows baby formula sent to the United States border with Mexico.

One user shared the image featuring emojis pointing to the photograph, with a caption that reads: “#BabyFormulaShortage Plenty at the border” (here).

An archived version of the tweet can be seen (archive.ph/NMmvK).

Other examples of the miscaptioned image shared online can be seen (here), (here), (here), (here).

The image is unconnected with the May 2022 shortage in baby formula in the U.S., however. Instead, it shows a stockpile of medical masks and was taken during the opening months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A reverse image search shows the image was published by the Los Angeles Times on April 6, 2020, with a caption that reads: “L.A. County Fire Department employee Danielle McMillon surveys a stockpile of surgical and protective masks stored in a secret government warehouse. The masks are destined for local hospitals. (Los Angeles County)” (here).

The image was also published by The Guardian in April 2020 (here).

At the May 13 press briefing at the White House, a reporter posed a question to then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about criticism being levied by some Republicans, including Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, about baby formula being sent to the southern border of the U.S. [50:50 seconds] (bit.ly/3FPIzeX).

In response, Psaki referred to the 1997 Flores settlement, which requires adequate food, among other necessities, to be sent for those held by immigration authorities at the border (here).

VERDICT

Miscaptioned. An image of a warehouse filled with boxes is unconnected with the May 2022 shortage in baby formula in the U.S. A reverse image search reveals that the photograph featured in an article published in the Los Angeles Times in April 2020. That article states that the image shows a stockpile of masks.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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