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Delaware County WIC Formula Recall Update

Delaware County WIC Formula Recall Update

Posted on May 18, 2022

As you know caregivers of newborns, including WIC families, continue to struggle to locate infant formula. The story of the infant formula shortage recently hit the top news stories over the past few days, but this is nothing new for WIC. Supply chain issues, along labor issues related to the pandemic started an ongoing formula shortage that was then made worse by the Abbott formula recall. One was a challenge for some WIC families, but a recall on top of a shortage, has made it almost insurmountable for all formula feeding families. USDA, PA WIC, and Abbot have all been working to not only to get formula back on the shelves, but also to expand and extend formula options to WIC families during this time.

Below is a snapshot of what is available to WIC families, and suggestions for WIC families looking for formula.

  1. Please see attached full list of formula alternatives to standard WIC formula (English/Spanish) available because of the formula recall and shortage. Abbott has extended the Similac Advance alternates until June 30, 2022. Similac Total Comfort, Similac For Spit-Up and Similac Sensitive alternates have also been extended until July 31,2022.
    1. As formulas get added to this list or when there is an extension, the Foundation for Delaware County WIC Program will continue to post this information to Facebook and Instagram and provide this information to formula feeding families who call our clinics and call center, or who come to our clinic for benefit reload. We also plan to continue to share with key community partners so they can share this information with clients who have questions.
    2. Last week PA WIC recently sent a text message to all formula feeding participants notifying them of the extension of the available formula alternatives.
    3. The Foundation for Delaware County WIC Program Retail Store Coordinator will continue to share information about local formula availability with PA WIC. This information will be used to determine the need for more alternatives and/or extension of the availability of formula alternatives.
  1. What WIC families can do during this time:
    1. Families having difficulty locating standard WIC formula or WIC formula alternatives should go the customer service counter of the store they are shopping at and ask the following:
      1. Do you have XXXXX formula or this WIC formula alternative?
      1. When does the next shipment of XXXXX formula (or alternative) come in?
  1. Families can use the WICShopper app to locate other nearby stores and call to see if they have a supply of the standard WIC formula they are looking for or the comparable formula alternative.
  2. WIC families having difficulty locating formula should call WIC at 484-471-3320.  We are here to help!  Since the recall, we have been helping WIC families every day by calling their WIC store and the next WIC store to locate formula.
    1. When participants and WIC staff are unable to locate standard WIC formula or formula alternatives at the store, we can give advice about what questions to ask the doctor and talk about other formula options during this time.
  1. We encourage formula feeding participants to talk to the doctor or WIC staff about what formula to use when they cannot find what normally buy.
  2. Families of babies taking Similac Alimentum are encouraged to work with the doctor to obtain a PA WIC Formula Authorization Form or prescription any/all the following hypoallergenic formula on the same form if/when appropriate: Alimentum, Nutramigen, Pregestimil, Gerber Extensive HA, Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic, Signature Care Hypoallergenic or Tippy Toes Hypoallergenic.  This will allow WIC the flexibility to better respond to the availability of hypoallergenic formulas during this time without asking participants to obtain new prescription from health care provider.
    1. The same practice is encouraged for health care providers in the case of Elecare and Elecare Jr.
  1. If baby takes Elecare, consider writing for all appropriate formulas such as Elecare, Neocate Infant, Neocate Syneo Infant, Alfamino Infant, and PurAmino.
  2. If child takes Elecare Jr., consider writing for all appropriate formulas such as Elecare Jr., Neocate Jr., Neocate Splash, PurAmino Jr., and Alfamino Jr.
  1. It is important to stress the following with formula feeding families:
    1. prepare formula as instructed on the package and not to add extra water to formula to stretch what they have
    2. not to feed recalled or homemade formula
    3. not to feed cow’s milk, goat’s milk, dry milk, canned milk or karo syrup to their baby
    4. not to replace formula with baby infant foods or water. Most babies are developmentally ready for infant baby foods and water around 6 months of age or when the doctor says the baby is ready. Infant baby foods and water do not provide enough energy, vitamins, and minerals to solely support the rapid growth and development of babies less than 6 months.
  1. Resources for families:
    1. To learn about choosing an infant formula that is safe for babies, families can visit: https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/formula-feeding/choosing-an-infant-formula.html
    2. Why Do Infants Need Baby Formula Instead of Cow’s Milk? https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/formula-feeding/Pages/Why-Formula-Instead-of-Cows-Milk.aspx
    3. FDA Advises Parents and Caregivers to Not Make or Feed Homemade Infant Formula to Infants. https://www.fda.gov/food/alerts-advisories-safety-information/fda-advises-parents-and-caregivers-not-make-or-feed-homemade-infant-formula-infants
    4. Infant Formula Preparation and Storage. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/InfantandToddlerNutrition/formula-feeding/infant-formula-preparation-and-storage.html

Our best advice for helping WIC families locate formula during this time is to refer them to the WIC Call Center at 484-471-3320 or their local clinic.  We are here to help! We have been since the start of the recall.  We know what is happening at the store and we know all the options WIC has to offer.

The Foundation for Delaware County WIC Program will continue to work with stakeholders across the state to expand and extend formula alternatives and to support WIC families during this time.