Sask. mothers continue to feel impact of baby formula shortage
A baby formula shortage caused by a recall of products manufactured at a facility in the United States has created a ripple effect into Saskatchewan, with many mothers feeling the strain trying to feed their babies.
In February, several powdered Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products were recalled when four babies got sick with a bacterial infection after consuming formula made at the Abbott Nutrition facility in Michigan. Two of those babies died after becoming sick.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CIFA) also issued a recall on powdered Abbott Brand baby formula linked to the recall issued in the U.S. It also noted a possible link to Salmonella, according to Health Canada.
The recall has caused issues for parents with babies who can only use particular kinds of formulas due to allergies or health conditions.
Nakaylia Tudway-Cains is a Saskatchewan mother who has struggled feeding her baby since the recall.
Since her son is allergic to cow’s milk protein, he could only tolerate one kind of formula that was affected by the recall. Her son ended up having to resort to another formula, which caused him pain and discomfort.
Tudway-Cains said she is paying over $400 a month for a formula that is not sold over the counter, because of the recall.
“The price for infant formula is outrageous. Recalls happen, but there needs to be more options for babies with allergies,” she said.
Health Canada suggests not using homemade formula and talking to a health care professional to discuss possible alternative products.
Regina mom Beth Valiaho said the situation has been difficult for friends of hers.
“As a new mom, this is completely scary. Moms in my circle are having to go to four stores to try and secure formula.” she said. It’s been rough.”
Some mothers have turned to breast milk donations to feed their babies during the shortage.
Danielle Lavoie is a mother in Regina who donates her breast milk to parents in need. While she does not rely on formula herself, she said she knows the recall is a scary situation and is lucky to be able to help out.
“I had never thought of [donating] before but once I heard about it, I decided to give it a go,” she said. “I’m happy to do it.”
She said she has given 60 ounces to a mom with twins and 60 ounces to a mom with reproductive issues and has hundreds more available to donate.
“Now that I know there are women who need, I have lots to give,” she said.
While it is an option for some, not all mothers are able to give their babies breast milk, and some say it does not fill the gap.
After investigation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported no conclusive evidence to link the illnesses and deaths of the babies to Abbott’s formulas. The CDC also found their product tested negative for Salmonella.
On Monday, May 16, Abbott agreed to enter into a consent decree with the FDA related to the Michigan baby formula plant. The agreement took steps to resume production of the facility, according to a press release on Abbott’s website.
Since receiving FDA approval, Abbott is looking to restart production in the Michigan facility on June 4. However, it would take six to eight weeks from the start of production for the formula to arrive back on shelves.
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