Essex County WIC says shortage continues to be a daily hardship
By News Report
WASHINGTON, D.C. | On March 10, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik released the following statement after hearing directly from her constituents that are still struggling to find baby formula over one year since Stefanik called on national leaders to address the baby formula shortage. She has long been an advocate for increasing baby formula supply and flexibility as solutions to this crisis and her office continues to work to get baby formula back on shelves in New York’s
“I have heard directly from my constituents who are forced to struggle to feed their babies and have to travel over 100 miles roundtrip to find baby formula. My office has contacted the Biden Administration to immediately address this issue, and I am continuing my push to provide flexibility for WIC suppliers to increase baby formula supply. I will continue to bring the concerns of families in New York’s 21st District to the highest levels, so families in my district will not have to worry about how they will feed their babies,” Stefanik said.
Krista Berger, Essex County WIC Coordinator, said “While WIC promotes breastfeeding as optimal, not every mother can, due to many different circumstances. The formula shortage in our area still continues to be a problem. There is not a day that goes by that we are not getting several calls from families who have driven all over the North Country looking for infant formula. A year later, our staff still spends countless time calling stores to see where there may be a particular formula. The frustration and stress level are understandable as parents are often met with bare shelves or limits on what they can buy. When families on WIC cannot use their benefits for formula, they often have to make the choice of spending what money they have to purchase what they can find and often go without other basic needs for their family.”
In February 2022, Stefanik sent a letter calling on the FDA to address safety and supply concerns regarding baby formula following a recall of powdered formulas after reports of related illness in infants. In May, Stefanik followed up and called on the FDA to provide a clear timeline for when baby formula inventory is expected to be sufficiently restocked as well as a long-term plan to minimize supply chain disruptions for baby formula. Stefanik did not receive a response from the FDA to her initial letter until May 11, months after she sounded the alarm and well after Americans were suffering from this baby formula crisis.
Stefanik led the Babies Need Formula Now Act to increase the baby formula supply for parents as soon as possible. She also introduced a bipartisan amendment to address limited options for WIC mothers by expanding baby formula contracting from one to two suppliers in the WIC program during a committee markup of House Democrats’ child nutrition bill, but Democrats struck it down.
Read the article on Sun Community News here.