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Wed, July 06

State guidance in hunt for formula

Scenes like this one in Washington are greeting parents across the country as they search for infant formula in the midst of a national shortage. Most stores have limited purchases, when they can get formula to sell. (Photo by Tracy Abiaka/Cronkite News)

Scenes like this one in Washington are greeting parents across the country as they search for infant formula in the midst of a national shortage. Most stores have limited purchases, when they can get formula to sell. (Photo by Tracy Abiaka/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX - While supply-chain issues are blamed for the general difficulty Arizona mothers have had in finding formula for their infants during the past year, the shutdown of a major factory in Michigan in February put that in crisis mode.

Now, Abbot Nutrition is gearing up to reopen after fixing serious health violations, including bacterial contamination.

Like its colleagues around the nation, the Arizona Department of Health Services has been tracking the situation and giving advice to families hunting for formula.

"This shortage is a stressful and frustrating situation for many families. Taking care of babies is hard enough without having to worry about where to find formula," the department states. "The most important thing is ensuring children continue to get the nutrients they need right now. Not getting the right nutrients can affect a child’s growth and development."

ADHS also notes that when the Abbott plant begins production, it will still take six to eight weeks for the product to reach shelves around the country.

The health department continues to encourage those with unneeded, unopened formula to donate it to a local food bank. It simultaneously encourages those hunting for formula to look at food banks, which usually do not carry the product.

Families that participate in the state-run Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program are in the same boat as everyone else. The state does not supply formula to participants but gives them an EBT card to purchase it – if it can be found.

ADHS asks families to consider switching to a different brand if the brand their baby is used to is unavailable. It notes that it may take a baby three to five days to get used to a new product.

“Some babies don’t like the taste of a different formula and are more sensitive to these changes than others,” the department notes. “Changing formulas is a safer option than using cow or goat milk or a homemade formula.”

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