Mississippi WIC program adds new infant formula options amid national shortage

The Mississippi Department of Health announced Wednesday that the state’s Women’s, Infants, and Children’s (WIC) Nutrition Program is adding new baby formula to its list of approved products to improve access to midwifery. the national shortage of preparations.

Generally, only four types of infant formula can be purchased with WIC benefits in Mississippi, unless an infant is granted an exemption through a medical diagnosis. Now eight more Enfamil formulas have been added to the list.

The new formulas will be available until August 31. A list of newly approved formulas is available here.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 84,000 women, children and infants participated in WIC in Mississippi in 2018.

Two additional policy changes were also announced to assist WIC participants who use medically prescribed formulas or who have purchased formulas that have been recalled.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) has waived the requirement to provide medical documentation before WIC participants are permitted to change the medical formula prescribed for their child. Instead, they will be able to call the clinic they use to switch to another formula currently available in store.

“National manufacturer shortages mean we are also experiencing constraints in our ability to order medical formulas,” Jameshyia Ballard, director of supplier management at the state health department, said in a statement. Press release. “These new options for WIC participants are used to help meet the needs of families.”

FNS has also provided the WIC program with a waiver that will allow people to return all recalled formulas directly to the store where they purchased them in exchange for cash back, store credit, or another formula product. .

The shortage of infant formula is having a major impact in Mississippi, which has the second-lowest breastfeeding rate in the nation.

Supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic are one of the causes of formula shortages. Manufacturers are struggling to obtain certain ingredients, and labor issues have affected distribution.

The shortage was greatly exacerbated by the recall of three major brands of infant formula made by Abbott Nutrition after a US Food and Drug Administration investigation found bacterial contamination at an Abbott facility in Sturgis, Michigan. At least four babies have been hospitalized and two have died after consuming contaminated formula, the Food and Drug Administration said. The facility, which is estimated to produce one-fifth of the US infant formula supply, has been closed since February.

— Article credit to Will Stribling of mississippi today

Ryan H. Bowman