Families on aid program getting help with alternate formula costs, agency says
(Gray News) - Government officials said they are continuing to help U.S. families through the current infant formula shortage in the country.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported it is working quickly to leverage the new Access to Baby Formula Act and cover the additional costs of alternate brand formulas in states that have contracts with companies Rickett Mead Johnson (RMJ) and Gerber.
The USDA is also recommending state agencies, RMJ and Gerber work together to consider temporarily allowing alternate brand formulas. In states with Abbott product contracts, the company is currently covering that cost difference.
According to a USDA news release, the agency is working with state agencies and manufacturers for families participating in the government’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, to be covered when purchasing alternate infant formula sizes, forms, or brands during the current shortage.
“Responding to the infant formula shortage has been – and will continue to be – a team effort. We encourage states and their formula manufacturers to work together to maximize access to infant formula for WIC participants, and USDA will provide the funding to make that possible,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “WIC families depend on us for the vital nourishment their babies and children need to thrive. We cannot let them down.”
According to the USDA, WIC participants under 12 months of age consume an estimated 56% of infant formula in the U.S. Approximately half of all state agencies have contracts with Abbott, which voluntarily recalled formula products in February.
The department reports that it continues to work closely with other agencies and the administration to support WIC through the formula shortages.
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