Missouri DHSS Warns Residents Not to DIY Their Own Infant Formula

Parents are driven to desperate measures in face of growing infant formula shortage

click to enlarge The infant formula shortage got worse in February after the FDA recalled several lines of formula, such as Similac, made by Abbott Nutrition. - VIA AJAY_SURESH/FLICKR
The infant formula shortage got worse in February after the FDA recalled several lines of formula, such as Similac, made by Abbott Nutrition.

COVID supply chain issues took down toilet paper, then lumbar, then raisins (weird, since no one actually eats raisins) and then pretty much everything else.

Infant formula is the most recent victim. There’s a national shortage that has now hit St. Louis, leaving bleak shelves at some area retailers.

Everything got much more dire, however, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalled several lines of formula, such as Similac by Abbott Nutrition, in February, reports Fox 2. At the time, the FDA had been looking into reports of bacterial infections resulting from the manufacturer’s products.

(Naturally, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell has found a different source of blame for the shortage: President Joe Biden, with McConnell admonishing him to stop hiding behind the FDA and to “get ahold of the situation fast” by overruling the recall, as was done with the vaccine, reports KMOV.)

Predictably, some parents have started hoarding formula like it’s 2020 toilet paper, prompting area stores to limit how much anyone can buy. Other stores have begun begging parents to be less choosy with their purchasing. Store brands might not be fancy, but they are FDA-approved and safe for infant consumption.

What’s not safe, however, is parents making their own formula, as Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services makes clear in a recent press release.

"Don’t make homemade formula," the release cautions. "Without proper regulation, homemade infant formula may lack proper ingredients that are vital to infant growth and can cause life-threatening foodborne illnesses when consumed."

Sea moss, hemp seeds and coconut water are among the esoteric and improvised ingredients that have gotten babies seriously ill, according to the New York Times. Even old-school options, such as water or juice, are a no go and can lead to water intoxication, a life-threatening condition according to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

There’s lot of better options, pretty much everyone insists, even if shelves become even more bare. There’s switching to a different formula or calling your pediatrician’s office or other area doctor’s offices for samples. You can even get emergency supplies for Abbott products with the help of a doctor.

Hopefully, Abbott will get its problems wrapped up and its products back on shelves in the not-too-distant future. But until then, step away from the sea moss.

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About The Author

Jessica Rogen

Jessica Rogen is managing editor for the Riverfront Times. She’s also the editor in chief of Boulevard, a literary magazine.
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