Advertisement

Resources for families amid baby formula shortage

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 9:28 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Consumers nationwide are finding shelves barren of baby formula as a result of several factors, including supply chain issues and the FDA recalling three brands of powdered formula made by Abbott Nutrition.

That’s after the FDA says four infants reportedly got sick from drinking the formula made at the Abbott facility in Sturgis, Mich.

Resources for families

Mellisa Lathion, educator and lactation consultant at Memorial Hospital, said premature babies, who are in need of additional nutrients, rely on some of the specialty formulas made at the Sturgis facility that’s currently halted operations.

“I know providers are being challenged to find, I guess, you know, more applicable alternatives. And so those prescriptions can be written for those instead, and so families have access to that,” explained Lathion.

Lathion said mothers who feed their babies with formula can still contact Beacon Health System for advice on navigating the formula shortage.

“I...absolutely 100% support breastfeeding. But I also am well-aware that that is not always something that’s easily done,” she said. “We definitely don’t want women to feel pressured. We want them to feel like their decisions are being respected and honored at all times.”

Lathion recommended mothers reach out to The Milk Bank, the first and only donor human milk bank in Indiana. Click here to learn more information about receiving milk from The Milk Bank.

Lathion said families affected by the formula shortage can inquire with a local WIC program and area food banks.

“We just have to work together to support each other and support our moms and babies, essentially,” said Lathion.

Abbott’s response

On Monday, an Abbott spokesperson released a statement that said:

"After a thorough investigation at the Sturgis, Michigan, facility by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Abbott, there are a number of important findings. Abbott tests products prior to distribution, and no Abbott formula distributed to consumers tested positive for Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella. Testing of retained products by Abbott and FDA for Cronobacter sakazakii and/or Salmonella all came back negative. No Salmonella was found at the Sturgis facility during the investigation. The Cronobacter sakazakii that was found in environmental testing during the investigation was in non-product contact areas of our Sturgis facility and has not been linked to the two available patient samples or any other known infant illness.

“A thorough review of all available data indicates that the infant formula produced at our Sturgis facility is not likely the source of infection in the reported cases and that there was not an outbreak caused by products from the facility.”

Regarding the formula shortage, Abbott wrote: “We are doing everything we can to address the infant formula supply shortage. Across the U.S., we’re prioritizing production of infant formula products to help replenish the supply in the market and are also air shipping in product from our FDA-registered facility in Cootehill, Ireland, on a daily basis. All of this powder product is being restocked on retail shelves on a regular basis.

“Actions we’re taking to address supply include:

-Increasing production of Similac formulas at our other FDA-registered facilities

-Bringing Similac Advance into the U.S. from an FDA-registered manufacturing site in Cootehill, Ireland, including daily shipments by air of product

-Prioritizing some production of other Abbott liquid products to Similac and Alimentum to make more ready-to-feed liquid formula available

-Working with USDA and state agencies to provide authorization for parents who get formula from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) with other Similac products at no cost, including for other manufacturers’ products

-Bringing Similac Advance into the U.S. from an FDA-registered manufacturing site in Cootehill, Ireland, including daily shipments by air of product

-Prioritizing some production of other Abbott liquid products to Similac and Alimentum to make more ready-to-feed liquid formula available

-Working with USDA and state agencies to provide authorization for parents who get formula from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) with other Similac products at no cost, including for other manufacturers’ products

-Engaging with healthcare providers to identify potential alternative formulas, whenever we can

We know that millions of parents and caregivers around the world count on our formulas to feed their babies and children and we are doing everything possible to address this situation.”

Copyright 2022 WNDU. All rights reserved.