ADPH says baby formula shortage could soon improve
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Many families across the state are still struggling for baby formula after months of a formula shortage.
The Abbott Nutrition plant in Michigan has been closed since February, creating a nationwide formula shortage, but they reopened this week. State officials said production has ramped back up, but it could still be a while before formula is back on Alabama shelves.
“We need more formula in the state to meet the needs of our families,” Dr. Wes Stubblefield with ADPH said. “ It could take up to six weeks for us to start seeing these on shelves.”
Abbott Nutrition is producing it’s specialty formula again and Stubblefield said that it’s important to get that product back into the state.
“There are some babies who can’t physically take another formula,” he said. “Babies that are allergic to cow’s milk or have food sensitivity to soy, so they require a very special formula.”
He said the plant will focus on distributing to WIC suppliers first, that could also benefit non-WIC moms.
“When it comes to prioritizing WIC, what that really means is supplies will go to WIC authorized retailers,” he said. “Many of those WIC authorized retailers are the places people get formula anyway.”
For the state’s WIC program, Alabama has contracts with the formula provider Mead-Johnson and they are allowing more products to qualify because of the shortage. But, once supply is back up, Stubblefield says he doesn’t know if they will continue to allow them in the program.
“Even if it’s in the Mead-Johnson family, it is hard to say those will stick around, or if some of these other ones that have been allowed will continue.”
The federal government has been bringing in formula from other countries called Operation Fly Formula and they have six flights scheduled the week of July 12. ADPH officials said it’s unknown how much makes it here to Alabama because it goes through retailers, not the state.
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