The baby formula shortage has Connecticut business owners and leaders taking action.
This, as Abbott Nutrition voluntarily recalled certain products in February 2022 due to bacteria contamination that made babies ill, putting a tremendous strain on supply.
However, Thursday marked a major turning point after all 100 senators passed critical baby formula legislation. The House-passed bills were led by two Connecticut lawmakers.
Democratic Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro introduced $28 million in emergency funding to boost formula supply.
"We face a serious problem in this country. Parents are scrambling to find infant formula, left to wonder how they will feed their child. When and if they finally find formula, they face an impossible choice as they are left wondering whether the formula is even safe for consumption," DeLauro said in a statement.
The emergency funding works to increase FDA inspection staff and improve data collection on the formula market.
"The FDA is regulatory agency – period. It is about time they acted like one. In the coming weeks, I will prepare legislation to prevent this crisis from potentially happening again," DeLauro said.
Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes is trying to make it easier for families to buy formula with WIC benefits since it comes with certain restrictions.
“Families nationwide are desperately trying to find food for their babies. Among the most impacted are mothers and babies enrolled in the WIC program who use formula at roughly double the rate of non-participating families," Hayes said in a statement.
At an East Haven supermarket, the phone rings throughout the day with shoppers on the hunt for baby formula.
"We've tried to order whatever we could, everything we could order as far as baby formula and we're not getting it," said Donna Angeletti, Owner of T&J Supermarket.
Angeletti said what you see is what they have ready to sell. Right now, just three shelves-worth of powder and liquid formula.
Cans of Similac, Enfamil, and a plant-based powder are stacked on the top shelf. Alimentum and Similac liquid formula is on the bottom.
"We were supposed to get in 80 cases today and 100 cases tomorrow, and we've been told nothing is going to be here at all," Angeletti said.
Shoppers in search of formula did not wish to speak on camera Thursday, but one said she was trying to help her family members in Ohio. Another woman was looking to stock up before her delivery date.
"The main thing that everyone wants is the powder because of the cost," Angeletti said.
Liquid formula is anywhere from $10 to $12 a bottle and goes more quickly than the powder. Families in need can pick up formula for free in Collinsville now until Saturday, May 21 at toy boutique and giftshop, MamaBear Organics.
"We just want to help out the moms in need, basically families and babies. And feed all the babies that we can because right now is a super stressful time," said owner Jessica Santucci.
People can bring any unopened and non-expired formula. Some of the most popular requests include Enfamil A.R., Enfamil Enspire (sensative), Enfamil Gentle Ease, and Similac Pro-Advance. Families must sign up with the store.
At the same time, loyal T&J shoppers are advised to keep an eye out for updates on the store's Facebook page. To make sure there’s enough, customers are limited to six products per visit.
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