A month after President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to import emergency supplies of infant formula, store shelves are still half empty and brands shipped on U.S. military planes from other countries are not yet helping many families struggling to find critical specialty brands.
The U.S. government began importing infant formula from Switzerland, the U.K. and elsewhere one month ago. It launched Operation Fly Formula to address a shortage that was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, a major formula recall and a decision by the FDA to shutter one of the nation’s top formula-producing plants for several months citing health violations.
Despite government intervention, many families with infants are still desperately searching for their next formula can. They have had to rely on social media groups to learn when store shelves are restocked or to buy from people who are selling or trading a can or two.
Madisyn Pappion, who lives in Tampa, drove more than 80 miles on Sunday to secure two, 12-ounce cans of powdered Nutramigen, an infant formula designed for babies with milk allergies that has been difficult to find.
Ms. Pappion has little choice but to embark on a near-daily hunt.
Her six-month-old daughter reacts with skin rashes and other serious allergy symptoms from milk-based formula. Her pediatrician advised against trying to substitute another non-milk brand for Nutramigen because the formulation is different.
The two cans Ms. Pappion secured on Sunday will last about six days.
“It’s scary, because what else can I feed her?” Ms. Pappion said.