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Infant formula recalls challenge some Northwoods families

baby formula bottle

Infant formula was already short stocked in many grocery stores when a recent recall made it even harder to find.

Abbott recalled some of its powered baby formulas, like Similac, in mid-February when several infants got sick with bacterial infections after eating the formula.

“There was already a supply chain shortage before this recall, and the recall has just heightened that to another level,” says Suzanne Polacek, who works with Health First Network to provide the Women, Infants and Children program to families in Marathon, Lincoln and Langlade counties.

WIC is a program that provides nutrition information to new and expecting moms.

It also provides vouchers for those moms to purchase specific foods – like Similac formula.

“Unfortunately, because the WIC program has contracts with certain companies, the Similac formulas, so Advance, Total Comfort and Sensitive, are some of the only formulas that a family on WIC can use a WIC card to purchase,” Polacek says.

That means the recall hit Wisconsin families relying on WIC especially hard.

“We were hearing from many moms who were having trouble finding formula on the shelves,” Polacek says. “They didn’t know how they were going to feed their babies.”

At this point, Wisconsin is allowing WIC cardholders to substitute other brands of infant formula and can sizes to continue feeding their children.

But the recall rocked the supply chain, and some of those other brands are still hard to find.

Health First Network has infant formula available for families in need in Antigo, Tomahawk and Wausau. Their contact information is 1-800-246-5743.

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