‘It was a real hit to us’: National baby formula shortage impacts local families

SPOKANE, Wash. — A national baby formula shortage has some store shelves looking bare. Experts say part of the problem is a recent recall on the brand Similac and other formulas made in Sturgis, Michigan. Other factors include supply chain issues, and rising inflation.

Retailers such as Walgreens and CVS are limiting how many baby formula products customers can buy.

The shortage is making it harder on families, and nonprofits say they’re having trouble keeping their shelves full too.

The Woman, Infant, and Children Nutrition Program covers Similac. The recall left very few options for families.

Our Place Community Outreach would normally have its shelves stocked with formula and baby food, however the nonprofit says it hasn’t had formula donations in months.

“We get asked about it every single day, and it’s really hard to not be able to offer that service or that item to struggling families in need,” Kat Hartsell

Over at Vanessa Behan, the nonprofit is seeing the same problem with baby formula.

“Families are really struggling to find it out in the community. as well as we’re struggling to keep it on our shelves so we can give it out to our families and support our children while they’re in our care,” said Vanessa Behan executive director Amy Vega.

The nonprofit is all about keeping kids safe and supporting families. The organization provides 24/7 care to children when parents are overwhelmed or need extra support.

Vega says they had to send back a lot of cases of Similac due to the recall.

“It was a real hit to us and what we could support our families in out in the community,” Vega said.

Vega says an alternative could be switching your babies formula, but the problem is it can be difficult for a baby’s digestive system.

Families can also check with WIC for baby formula.

Manufacturers say they’re ramping up production to make up for the difference, but say it could take them weeks to catch up.

The products under recall have a multidigit number on the bottom of the container starting with the the first two digits 22 through 37, containing K8, SH or Z2 and with an expiration date of April 1, 2022 or after.

The recall includes Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare.

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