North Carolina Food Bank describes ‘certain’ impact of formula shortage


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The continued shortage of infant formula in this country is negatively impacting some food banks and pantries that serve low-income customers, as well as others that rely on these facilities for essential products and supplies.

Derrick Williams, director of operations for the Central and Eastern North Carolina Food Bank in Raleigh, N.C., told Fox News Digital on Friday that his food bank was “definitely affected” by the shortage.

“We are still able to function, but there are not as many [baby formula] as before.”

“We’ve seen very little baby formula and we’ve had some baby formula recalls,” he said.

He added: “If we get it [baby formula] at all, we have to make sure he hasn’t been called back.”

Formula is offered for sale here at a big box store on January 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Formula has been in short supply in many stores across the country for several months.
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Nearly 600,000 people face hunger in the 34-county service area served by this food bank, the organization notes on its website.

Last year, this particular food bank provided over 115 million meals to families and individuals; it serves a large portion of residents in east-central North Carolina.

Due to ongoing supply chain issues, high inflation, and some recent product recalls, approximately 30% of popular infant formula brands were out of stock in U.S. retail stores in the early april.

“When the [COVID-19] the pandemic was at its peak, we were getting a lot of food from the government – ​​but that stopped. »

“Due to food chain shortages, inventory is not what it used to be,” Williams also told Fox News Digital of her food bank conditions.

“When the [COVID-19] the pandemic was at its peak, we were getting a lot of food from the government – ​​but that stopped. »

PARENTS FRANTICALLY SEEKING HOMEMADE FORMULA RECIPES AMID SHORTAGE

“We’re down right now,” he added. “We are still able to function, but there are not as many as before.”

Parents in different parts of the country have reported difficulty finding enough formula to feed their infants.

Parents in different parts of the country have reported difficulty finding enough formula to feed their infants.

While the government’s WIC program – the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – routinely provides infant formula to low-income families, some food banks offer infant formula to their customers.

Local Department of Public Health WIC programs have “worked closely with families” to provide support and information about available options, “including informing them of the temporarily expanded list of WIC formulas to offer products. comparable for formulas that have been difficult to locate”. Fox News Digital was informed in a statement Friday.

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WIC also notes that it “continues to promote breastfeeding” and that its programs support the “many families who choose to breastfeed their infants.”

Pediatricians encourage most new moms to breastfeed for "as long as possible," Dr. Meg Meeker told Fox News Digital. "There is absolutely no reason for parents to put their babies at risk with homemade formulas."

Pediatricians encourage most new moms to breastfeed “for as long as possible,” Dr. Meg Meeker told Fox News Digital. “There is absolutely no reason for parents to put their babies at risk with homemade formulas.”
(Stock)

But what about all those new moms who can’t breastfeed or whose infants need specially fortified formulas for their health?

“It’s very dangerous”

Given the current baby formula shortage, some families are desperate for homemade recipe suggestions, but that’s a terrible idea, experts say.

“The answer to parents giving homemade formula to their babies is NO! very dangerous,” longtime pediatrician Dr. Meg Meeker, author and creator of the “Parenting Great Kids” podcast, told Fox News Digital Friday night.

“Homemade formulas can have contaminants because they haven’t been handled properly. But bigger issues are related to poor nutrition.”

“We know a lot about it because many years ago parents were doing it – but the babies got very sick.”

She added, “Homemade formulas can have contaminants because they haven’t been handled properly. But bigger issues are related to poor nutrition,” she said.

A pediatrician said she had a toddler in her practice who had "so deficient in iron from drinking too much milk that he even had heart failure."

A pediatrician said she had a toddler in her practice who was “so iron deficient from drinking too much milk that he actually went into heart failure.”

“Specifically,” Dr. Meeker said, “when parents use cow’s milk, it has good protein but lacks the iron needed for the baby to grow. This can lead to iron deficiency in children and it is why we postpone giving babies milk until they are one year old.”

“By then,” she says, “kids will have enough iron in their food. Believe it or not, I had a toddler [in my practice] with such an iron deficiency because he drank too much milk that he actually had heart failure.”

Dr. Meeker touched on another “dangerous” alternative that some parents are turning to these days.

Across the country, parents of young children are looking for infant formula for their children.  A doctor advises parents to ask their pediatrician for contact information for formula manufacturers.

Across the country, parents of young children are looking for infant formula for their children. A doctor advises parents to ask their pediatrician for contact information for formula manufacturers.
(Digital Fox News)

“Some parents use goat’s milk – and it’s just as dangerous,” she said. “Goat’s milk looks natural, which gives parents the impression that it’s good, but it lacks enough vitamin B12 and vitamin D.”

She added: “Vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets and vitamin B12 deficiency causes another dangerous type of anaemia.”

But “it’s just to start,” she added. “There can be too much glucose loading and too little or too much electrolytes like sodium, potassium and calcium. Low levels of these can cause seizures or cardiac arrhythmias.”

That’s why, Dr. Meeker said, “we encourage mothers who don’t have a lot of money to breastfeed for as long as possible…There’s absolutely no reason for parents to put their babies in danger with homemade formulas.”

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And for women who can’t breastfeed, she says, “formula manufacturers give a lot of [baby] formula away – it’s good publicity.”

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She said if parents “contact the formula manufacturers, they will help you. Most doctors know who the formula reps are, so mothers should ask their pediatrician.”


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