SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — You ask, we answer!

Viewer Pamela Davis sends this question to the Your Stories Team:

It is front-page news that our country has an extreme baby formula shortage, partly due to the Abbott plant’s temporary closure because of contamination. What l want to ask is: aren’t there any other baby formula manufacturing plants across this country? It seems hard to believe that the one plant is the ONLY one here in the US. Do you have an answer to this question?

To help answer this question, we spoke with Claire Kelloway, Food Systems Program Manager at the Open Markets Institute.

Kelloway said the public would likely be surprised to learn that there’s only a handful of formula manufacturers here in the US. According to ABC News, 90 percent of the nation’s supply comes from just four companies.

Abbott’s Michigan plant makes about 20 percent of the formula here in the US — and a much higher percentage when it comes to specialty formulas.

Kelloway said another major factor in this shortage is how the WIC program operates. She said WIC vouchers account for half of all baby formula purchased in the US. States have contracts with certain formula companies. Kelloway said states that have deals with Abbott likely had a harder time filling store shelves than states that used a competitor to get its formula.

Kelloway added that Abbott’s competitors have increased production to help ease the pain, but families will see a lag before they see the benefits. She said some competitors were likely not equipped to ramp-up production as soon as Abbott closed and that other competitors likely had factory capacity issues or needed more workers to meet the added demand.

The FDA has given the green light to Abbott to reopen its plant meets certain criteria. Abbott, however, said it would take weeks before new batches of formula arrive on store shelves. Meanwhile, the White House has taken several steps to increase formula supply, including shipping formula from overseas.