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As baby formula plant reopens, shortage expected to ease

U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes visits WIC office in New Britain

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — A major step in fighting back on the baby formula shortage was taken over the weekend. Abbott Nutrition re-started production at its largest plant in Michigan, after it was closed down due to product contamination.

With that, relief should be on the way for families, who will start to see specialty formulas hitting the shelves in a few weeks.

But in the meantime, many families are still struggling. 

“Unfortunately families are really faced between do they feed their baby or do they go to an alternative product? It’s really terrifying," said Christine Marschall, Program Nutritionist at the Bristol Hospital WIC Program, located on Main St. in New Britain.

Marschall said regular milk based formula is starting to see a comeback, but not other kinds. 

“We are seeing that a lot of the hypoallergenic formulas are just nowhere to be found," Marschall said.

But, changes are on the way. The federal government has shipped formula in from other countries, and they’ve waived certain requirements for WIC recipients (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) through the Access to Baby Formula Act, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes.

Hayes visited the local WIC office in New Britain on Monday to get a better picture of what the staff are dealing with now. 

“I was a WIC mom. And at the same time that I was working and going to school, I recognize that people are making some really hard choices right now," Hayes said. 

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Choices Hayes said she hopes people don't ever have to make again in the future. 

"We have to get back to not only 100% production, but have a backup plan in order to shift gears quickly in the event of an emergency," Hayes said.

RELATED: New Haven couple describes 72 hours of hell at Yale New Haven Hospital after giving birth (exclusive)

But for those who are still struggling now? 

"Please reach out to us. Reach out to your pediatrician so we could help you locate the formula. We do have tools in place so we could help families find it. So please call the WIC office," Marschall said. 

Connecticut has ten WIC locations. For their contact information, click here.

Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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