Michigan announces statewide response to baby formula shortage

Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday the state is taking action to help with the nationwide shortage of baby formula.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 9:58 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday the state is taking action to help with the nationwide shortage of baby formula.

“Today I spoke with Abbott leadership and offered support to help get production back on track. I will do everything I can as governor to boost baby formula production, getting it from factories to store shelves and into people’s homes. I know how anxious parents must feel right now, and it’s crucial that they have confidence that a product is safe for their babies. I urge federal leaders to use every tool at their disposal to boost formula production. We’re tackling the shortage head-on in Michigan and working with our federal and private sector partners to fix supply logistics and ensure every baby has what they need,” Whitmer said. “Additionally, at the state-level, I’ve taken action to lower costs and put money in people’s pockets. We’ve sent out $400 auto refund checks per vehicle to every Michigan driver and I proposed tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit in my budget to deliver a $3,000 tax refund for over 730,000 Michiganders, directly benefiting half the kids in Michigan,” Governor Whitmer added. “I will continue staying focused on lowering costs on essentials like formula, groceries, and gas for families by putting more money in their pockets and work with anyone to tackle supply chain challenges impacting Michiganders.”

The Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team announced they will try to identify and investigate any evidence of price gouging related to this shortage.

“While we have not seen a significant influx of complaints thus far, my team will remain vigilant in ensuring this shortage isn’t compounded by illegal business practices that will only inflict additional harm on parents of infants right now,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “If you suspect instances of price gouging, please report it to our office so we can take appropriate action.”

The shortage is affecting Saginaw parents Beatrice and Christian Garrett have their hands full.

“It’s a lot for a young family. We’re young, we’re growing, four children,” said Christian Garrett.

Two of his four are twins who take formula.

“It hit home for me on Tuesday when I went out to Meijer on Gratiot Road, which is normally where we’re able to get maybe even one, or two, or three cans. There was nothing,” Christian Garrett said.

The nationwide shortage was sparked by an Abbott Nutrition recall in February over bacterial concerns that led to the temporary shutdown of their Sturgis plant.

While most parents need formula for one infant, the Garretts need double the quantity.

“You get down to that last can, before you even get to the last can, you’re scrambling,” said Beatrice Garrett.

Scrambling to stores to find empty shelves.

According to Datasembly, there is 43% less formula on shelves nationwide, up 31% from last month.

“You look online, and it says available, you get to the store and it’s out of stock,” Beatrice Garrett said.

Whitmer offered Abbott leadership state resources to fix the supply chain once the company resumes production on Friday.

The Garretts want to see action from the nation’s capital.

“I think they’re doing enough, but I kind of think that the federal administration needs to kick in at this point,” Christian Garrett said.

Time and milk are running out for the Garretts.

“It’s very scary. It’s very scary,” Beatrice said.

“Mindwrecking. It’s a lot to process, it really is,” Christian said.

Families can find formula during this shortage here.