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Harmful baby food recipes go viral on social media: Bloomberg

Harmful baby food recipes go viral on social media: Bloomberg
  • Harmful homemade baby food recipes are going viral on social media platforms, Bloomberg reported.
  • The posts rack up thousands of views and hundreds of likes, according to the outlet.
  • Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube are not consistently removing or labeling posts, the report says.

Harmful homemade baby food 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 remove or label posts with misinformation about baby food recipes on their platforms, but don’t do so consistently, according to the report.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised parents in February not using certain powdered baby foods after finding bacterial infections in infants, leading to five hospitalizations and two deaths.

Abbott, whose Similac, Alimentum and EleCare brands may have been affected, had issued a voluntary recall earlier that month.

Manufacturers, including Abbott, subsequently recalled their baby food products, leading to shortages and retailers restricting purchases in its stores, making availability scarce.

Twitter posts about homemade baby food rose 2.100% from the first to second week of May — representing 5,000 tweets — Bloomberg found.

It found instructions to make baby food at home on Twitter, TikTokYoutube, Facebook and Instagram, with some posts getting thousands of views and hundreds of likes.

YouTube told Bloomberg that videos containing dangerous recipes violated its harmful content policy. Bloomberg reported that it had removed videos flagging the outlet.

TikTok said it also deleted videos that Bloomberg highlighted, while Twitter told the outlet that they have not violated its disinformation policy, but that it would review its practices over time.

A spokesperson for Facebook’s parent company, Meta, told Bloomberg that it used outside content reviewers to place warning labels on misinformation about baby food.

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

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

Biden also announced a measure to import baby food from abroad called Operation Fly Formula, the first batch of which will arrive from Europe this weekend.

The FDA advises: parents not to make or give baby food to infants as it has not been assessed and may lack essential nutrients needed to support a baby’s growth.

A YouTube spokesperson told Insider: “We are removing content that advertises, sells or instructs how to make homemade baby food from among our Harmful and Dangerous policy. Accordingly, we have removed the videos created by Bloomberg.”

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