June 27, 2022

Safety tips during formula shortage

WASHINGTON — Infant formula shortages have left many parents concerned about how they will feed their children.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and American Academy of Pediatrics offer tips for parents and caregivers struggling to find formula.

Do:

• Choose a safe infant formula. For more information on choosing an infant formula that’s safe, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration pages on the topic at tinyurl.com/akw37w5m and tinyurl.com/ytmcxn9r, respectively.

• Properly prepare and store formula.

• Properly clean and store infant feeding items.

Do Not:

• Make homemade formula.

• Feed your baby cow’s milk or diluted formula unless instructed to by a doctor.

• Buy formula online that is from outside the United States.

“We’re acutely aware that the ongoing recall has left many parents and caregivers concerned about access to formula and how they will feed their babies,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“Our team is committed to the health and safety of all Americans and is calling on states to act immediately to offer maximum flexibility, information and support to WIC participants.”

The USDA is urging states to allow Women, Infants and Children recipients to use their WIC benefits on a wider variety of formula products.

Check to see if you have recalled formula by:

• Reviewing the codes on the bottom of your package.

• Visiting the company’s website.

• Calling the Abbott at 800-986-8540.

Do not feed your baby or toddler recalled powder formula. It’s also advised that parents do not throw away recalled formula. Return it to the store for a refund or exchange or call the company.

Steven Abrams, a board-certified pediatrician and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas, shared tips on what parents should do if baby formula is out of stock.

• Check smaller stores and drug stores, which may not be out of supply when the bigger stores are.

• If you can afford it, buy formula online until store shortages ease. Purchase from well-recognized distributors, grocers and pharmacies rather than individually sold or auction sites.

• Check social media groups. There are groups dedicated to infant feeding and formula, and members may have ideas for where to find formula. Make sure to check any advice with your pediatrician.

• If you find it in stock, it can be tempting to buy as much formula as possible right now, but the American Academy of Pediatrics advises buying no more than a 10-day to two-week supply of formula to ease shortages.

• Call your pediatrician if you cannot find formula you need for your baby. They may have samples in stock, connections to other local organizations or ideas of other places to call, such as your local WIC clinic.

Learn more about infant formula safety at the USDA website: tinyurl.com/49wbfkcm.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor