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State of Michigan addressing infant formula shortage

MARQUETTE — The state of Michigan is taking actions to address the nationwide baby formula shortage, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced.

The governor brought together the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, including the Women, Infants and Children Program, and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to ensure parents who need formula get the resources and support they need to provide for their babies, officials said in release.

“(Friday) I spoke with Abbott leadership and offered support to help get production back on track,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I will do everything I can as governor to boost baby formula production, getting it from factories to store shelves and into people’s homes. I know how anxious parents must feel right now, and it’s crucial that they have confidence that a product is safe for their babies. I urge federal leaders to use every tool at their disposal to boost formula production. We’re tackling the shortage head-on in Michigan and working with our federal and private sector partners to fix supply logistics and ensure every baby has what they need.”

Abbott is one of four companies that produce 90 percent of formula in the U.S. and has a Lower Peninsula production plant.

The Department of Attorney General

The Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team is “committed to identifying and investigating any instances of price gouging related to the shortage,” officials said in a news release.

“While we have not seen a significant influx of complaints thus far, my team will remain vigilant in ensuring this shortage isn’t compounded by illegal business practices that will only inflict additional harm on parents of infants right now,” Nessel said in a statement. “If you suspect instances of price gouging, please report it to our office so we can take appropriate action.”

Complaints can be filed online through the Department of Attorney General.

Michigan Department of Health And Human Services

MDHHS released new guidance to help parents navigate the dos and don’ts of the situation as supply chains challenges and recalls resulted in limited supply around the country.

Do:

≤ The department recommends that families do consider trying another brand of formula as most regular baby formulas are enough alike that most healthy babies can switch without problems. It is important that babies be fed an appropriate substitute if their usual formula is not available. All standard infant formulas for healthy babies meet the same FDA high standards for quality and nutrition.

Don’t:

≤ The department recommends that families don’t feed their babies homemade formula or water down formulas to stretch them out, as these are unsafe practices.

What to do if you have concerns:

≤ Those who have concerns about infant formula can contact their health care provider or FDA at 1-888-463-6332, or file a report online at MedWatch. Contact your child’s health care provider if you are unable to access the formula your child needs.

Learn more safety information on infant formula at:

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/infant-formula-safety-dos-and-donts.

Women, Infants and Children Program

In response to the Abbott recall, Michigan has temporarily expanded access to alternate formula options that qualify for WIC assistance to ensure families can use their benefits on formulas readily available. Approximately 85% of formula-fed WIC participants are affected, officials said. The most up-to-date information on WIC’s response to the formula recall can be found at Michigan.gov/WIC.

Michigan notified clients with food packages that contain potentially recalled formulas and directed them to step-by-step instructions on what to do for benefits already redeemed, unredeemed benefits and special formulas.

Michigan WIC staff are available to guide WIC clients to stores where a certain formula has been recently purchased. Some families may need to consider a formula change to one that is available, and in these cases, it is recommended families talk to their health care provider or WIC clinic for the best options.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set up a website to ensure Americans have accurate and up-to-date information about baby formula. Learn more about the federal response at: https://www.hhs.gov/formula/index.html

Baby Formula

Manufacturer Hotlines

MyGerber Baby Expert: call 1-800-284-9488

Abbott’s Consumer Hotline: call 1-800-986-8540

Reckitt’s Customer Service line: call 1-800-222-9123

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