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White House warns parents not to water down or make homemade formula

Infant formula
Posted at 6:33 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-04 00:37:15-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — The White House is concerned parents may make dangerous choices because of the ongoing formula crisis.

Chriten Linke Young, Deputy Assistant to the President for Health and Veterans Affairs said in a Zoom interview with News 5 that watering down formula or attempting to make homemade formula is dangerous.

"So, if you have any questions you should talk to your doctor about the right choice for your baby and your family," she said.

The third delivery of infant formula from Europe arrived via the Operation Fly Formula Mission on Wednesday. Linke Young said that some product labels may look unfamiliar to parents, but should have confidence that the formula is safe.

"I’m a parent myself, I’m 36 weeks pregnant with my second baby," she said. "So, absolutely we recognize that that can be a challenging transition to make, but parents should have confidence that the formula they find on US store shelves is safe.”

In addition to the overseas shipments, Linke Young notes that the Food and Drug Administration has been working with domestic infant formula companies since to increase production the Similac recall was first announced in February.

“We have seen that really pay off over time," she said. " By the beginning of May, we had more infant formula coming off of US production lines in total than there was before, before the recall because other manufacturers have been able to step up and work with the FDA to operate their facilities 24/7.”

Abbott Laboratories, which manufactures Similac, announced in May that it planned to restart its plant in Sturgis, Michigan early this month. The company noted that it could take an additional six to eight weeks after that restart before the formula returns to store shelves.

The US Department of Agriculture gives money to states to help low-income families to buy infant formula through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Many states, including Colorado, have signed exclusive purchase agreements with the formula manufacturers in exchange for selling those products at a discount. As a result, many WIC clients must purchase specific brands of formula in specific sizes.

The USDA announced a waiver last week that will allow WIC clients to access infant formula from different companies and in different sizes.

Approximately 60,000 families in Colorado purchase infant formula through Colorado WIC.

"Colorado WIC is temporarily making other brands of formulas, such as Earth's Best, Similac, Gerber, imports, and store brands available as Colorado WIC-allowed options and allowing larger container sizes under a USDA waiver," explained Maria Livingston, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

CDPHE, the Colorado Department of Human Services, and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office recently launched a new website that is updated with the latest guidance and resources concerning the formula shortage and the state’s response.
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