Baby formula shortage still hitting Canadian parents: ‘Buy whatever is on the shelf’ – National

After nearly a year of shortages of infant formula in Canada, many families are still struggling to find the product on their shelves, and experts say the supply problem could persist for some time. I am warning you.

Sabrina Collins of Kingston, Ontario, said she couldn’t find the brand of infant formula she needed for her 6-month-old son, Jasper. Her son usually drinks Nestlé Good Start Her Sous, which is designed for babies with sensitive stomachs. However, on March 18, the company issued a recall for possible bacterial contamination on products sold in Canada.

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Unable to find formula equivalents to the recalled products, she has to “buy whatever is on the shelf”, leaving her baby with stomach-confounding formula.

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“There will be nights when he’ll be awake and in a lot of pain. As a mother, it’s really hard to see your baby in pain and know there’s nothing you can do about it,” she said. Told.

Sabrina Collins said her son, Jasper Grew, has a sensitive stomach and needs a special type of infant formula.

Sabrina Collins

Not only is Collins frustrated by the limited options on the shelves, but the remaining formulas are often prohibitively expensive.

“The Nestle Good Start Sousse I bought before was affordable and really nice. $ to $50,” says Collins.

Collins, We are just one of several parents who have reached out to Global News about the problem of finding infant formula.Available.

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Infant formula shortages are not only reported in Ontario, but across the country from Calgary. to Montreal, Parents who struggle to feed their babies, especially families who rely on hypoallergenic products.

Why does the formula shortage persist?

Sylvain Charlevoix, director of the Institute for Agro-Food Analysis at Dalhousie University, said Canada’s reliance on infant formula from the United States was a major cause of the continued shortage.

More specifically, the problem is primarily Canadian North America’s largest formula production plant — Abbott Nutrition.

A compounding plant in Michigan recalled a number of products in February 2022 following reports of bacterial infections. Four infants contracted bacterial infections after consuming institutional formula. Two of her infants died.

Click to play video: 'What's behind the baby formula shortage?'

What are the causes of milk powder shortage?

In addition to continuing supply problems, the plant is currently under criminal investigation by the police. U.S. Department of Justice.

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“Canada doesn’t make infant formula at all, so unfortunately it’s very dependent on what’s going on[in Michigan],” Charlebois said. , we expect to continue operating at a minimum, so the shortage is not necessarily surprising.”

In an online statement updated March 24, Health Canada The plant “produced several popular products that represent a large portion of the Canadian infant formula market,” it said, adding, “The facility reopened in July 2022, but has not yet returned to normal production capacity.” said.

“This has increased the demand for infant formula produced by other manufacturers,” the ministry said.

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Milk powder shortage leads to panic buying in Canada

Another problem that leads to shortages is “hoarding,” said Charlevoix, who said he doesn’t blame his parents for doing this.

For example, Abbott Nutrition makes a formula brand called Similac for babies with allergies such as soy and dairy.

“So many parents struggle to find the specific type of formula they need,” Charlevoix said.

“Even if they do find a product, they are likely to hoard it, and it’s hard to blame them for the supply chain uncertainty they face trying to care for an infant.”

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Click to play video: 'Shortage of hypoallergenic formula causes stress for parents'

Lack of hypoallergenic powdered formula causes stress for parents

What is Canada doing about formula shortages?

Health Canada recognizes on its website that parents continue to report difficulty finding some formula dairy products and is working with manufacturers to identify the types and types of products available. increasing the amount.

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced on March 22 that “Reckitt, Perrigo and Abbott (infant I have personally spoken to the three major manufacturers of powdered milk.” health canada said.

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The Federal Ministry also interim policyhas been extended through December 31, 2023 to help import equivalent infant formula from other countries with similar high quality and manufacturing standards to Canada.

Canada does not have a domestic powdered milk factory, but there is a factory in Kingston, Ontario called the Canada Royal Milk Plant. Hikawa InternationalThe factory is owned by China and, according to its website, only ships internationally.

The factory previously told Global News it was considering selling its products in Canada and had submitted a preliminary application to Health Canada as part of regulatory approval.

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A factory in Ontario looking to sell baby formula in Canada. But will this make up for the shortfall?

As Health Canada and manufacturers continue to try to solve the formula shortage, parents like Collins are looking elsewhere for help.

“I’m also in a Facebook support group that I’ve been helping out with. People will post pictures of store shelves and what they have in stock and stock for concoctions,” she said.

Collins said a friend in the United States had also sent him seven cans of formula, which she was very grateful for.

“But the fact that I had to reach out to do it…we live in one of the top countries in the world. is it?

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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