To address the infant formula shortage amid medical device and health care company Abbott Nutrition’s voluntary recall of certain powdered infant formulas, the Biden administration is working to ensure that formula is safe and available for families across the country. President Biden spoke with several retailers and manufacturers—including Walmart, Target, Reckitt and Gerber—to discuss ways to get formula quickly and safely onto store shelves. He also announced a series of actions to make formula more accessible, including cutting red tape on the types of formula parents can buy, calling on the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to crack down on price gouging and unfair market practices, and increasing formula supply through increased imports.
As a result, manufacturers have ramped up production by 30%-50%, bringing total production above pre-recall levels with a different mix of products and sizes now available in the market. Still, many families continue to encounter challenges obtaining infant formula—especially those dependent on specialty formulas, which are used by nearly 5,000 infants as well as some older children and adults with rare medical conditions.
If you cannot readily find formula, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggests consulting the following resources.
- Gerber’s MyGerber Baby Expert—Reach a certified nutrition or lactation consultant by phone, text, Facebook Messenger, web chat or video call who can help you identify a similar formula that may be more readily available.
- Abbott’s Consumer Hotline—Call 1-800-986-8540.
- Abbott’s urgent product request line—Ask your OB-GYN or your infant’s pediatrician to submit an urgent product request by downloading and completing this form.
- Reckitt’s Customer Service line—Call 1-800 BABY-123 (222-9123).
- Locate your nearest Community Action Agency (CAA)—Your neighborhood CAA may be able to provide you with formula or connect you with local agencies that have formula in stock.
- United Way’s 211—Dial 211 to be connected to a community resource specialist affiliated with United Way who may be able to help you identify food pantries and other charitable sources of local infant formula and baby food.
- Feeding America—Call your local food bank to ask whether they have infant formula and other supplies in stock
- Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA)—Certain HMBANA-accredited milk banks distribute donated breast milk to mothers in need. However, take note that some milk banks may require a prescription from a medical professional. Click here to find an HMBANA-accredited milk bank.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)-eligible Families
- Contact your local WIC office to identify or obtain additional sources of infant formula nearby.
- Call your OB-GYN or pediatrician to see if they have in-office samples or can suggest a similar formula that may be more readily available in stores and is nutritionally similar to your infant’s typical formula.
- Refrain from watering down the formula, trying to make formula at home, or using toddler formula to feed infants. Don’t discard the formula unless it is expired or is part of the recall. Check your formula’s lot code to see whether it was affected by the recall.
- Consult the American Academy of Pediatrics for more guidance.
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