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Central VA pediatricians, lawmakers stepping in to help baby formula shortage

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A baby formula shortage is leaving store shelves in Charlottesville and all across the country empty.

Everyone -- including food banks -- has been struggling to find baby formula, though some others are stepping in to help.

“The most important thing is we need to get these babies fed,” Dr. Paige Perriello with Pediatric Associates of Charlottesville said.

Pediatric Associates is one of the places you can go if you need formula. Perriello recommends you reach out to your primary care doctor for help right now. There are also some things you should not do to conserve formula.

“We do not want them to put extra water in the formula to make it last longer. There are a lot of recipes online right now for homemade formulas and we don’t believe that those are safe and giving babies all the nutrients that they need. And finally, switching to cow’s milk is not safe for infants under one,” Perriello said.

She also says if you do see formula in stores, only buy enough for two or three weeks and do not stockpile. Seventh district Representative Abigail Spanberger says stockpiling is partially how the shortage started.

“I’m hearing directly from constituents who are having to go to various different stores to be able to purchase their formula,” Spanberger said.

The shortage originally stems from a voluntary recall by manufacturer Abbott Nutrition, one of the big three baby formula providers. This led to the FDA shutting it down, though Spanberger says she is directly working with the White House to get supply up again.

“So removing, cutting some of the red tape related to FDA regulations, also taking tariffs out of place, so that we can import quality good baby formula here into the U.S. market for the length of this emergency” Spanberger said

Spanberger is also focused on the long term-- crafting legislation to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Right now, both Spanberger and Perriello say the goal is to shift supply to those who need it most.

“If you are a family that has cans of formula that are not opened and not expired and your baby is over one and you would like to get that to families that need it, we are happy to take those donations,” Perriello said.

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