State’s Women, Infants, Children Program working to address formula shortage

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — New York’s Women, Infants, Children Program (WIC) is helping those who get WIC benefits get formula amid a nationwide shortage.

It’s also coordinating with manufacturers to get formula to WIC families when they cannot find it locally, according to a press release from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office released Thursday.

The WIC program has a list of approved vendors who may have formula in stock. Click here to see it.

This comes just one day after the New York Attorney General warned retailers that price gouging is illegal and shared with consumers instructions about how to report it to her office.

The shortage comes after a massive recall in February worsened existing supply chain issues caused by COVID-19 regulations.

New York’s Department of Health recommends that families that are having a hard time finding formula take the following steps:

  • Call their OBGYN or pediatrician to see if they have in-office samples or can suggest a similar formula that may be more readily available in stores and is nutritionally similar.
  • Switch to another brand or type that’s available, if recommended by their pediatrician.
  • Contact a local New York State Women, Infants and Children Office to see if they are eligible for WIC benefits.
  • Visit smaller stores and drugstores that carry formula and try calling first to see if they have formula in stock.
  • Try buying formula online from reputable websites, but do not buy it from strangers, social media sites, online auctions, or overseas.
  • Check the lot code on the formula that you already have to make sure it wasn’t recalled. Don’t throw away formula that wasn’t part of the recall, unless it is expired. Click here for a tool you can use to check if a lot code is included in the recall.
  • Don’t use toddler formula to feed infants.
  • Don’t water down formula.
  • Pregnant women are encouraged to consult with a provider about breastfeeding their infant. WIC has breastfeeding support and resources available.
  • If donor breast milk is used, make sure it has been screened and proper precautions to ensure its safety have been taken. Click here for information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about how to do that.

The NYSDOH is and the FDA have said they do not recommend that families make formulas at home.