Utah parents struggle to find certain types of baby formula
SALT LAKE CITY — It may be several months since a formula shortage swept the nation, but some Utah families are once again noticing the shelves wiped empty.
Cameron Hyer explained that it’s a constant topic of conversation with his wife. At least a couple times a day, they find themselves talking about how much formula they have left for their 8-month-old baby Emery and if they need to go find more.
“When it is the last can, it’s like well, crap. We have to go search again to find something,” he said.
It can turn into a wild goose chase to find it. Recently, they found themselves driving all over the place with no luck.
“We had gone to the Smith’s in Bountiful. There’s a Smith’s over by us. There’s a WinCo over in Herriman,” Hyer said.
He said they bounced around to every store they could think of.
“None of them had any of it left.”
That’s because he was looking for a specific kind of formula. Emery can only have hypoallergenic baby formula, which right now can be hard to get.
Utah WIC said Monday that non-standard infant formulas haven’t recovered from the huge supply shortage earlier in the year. Standard formula is fine, and Utah WIC said all retailers, including stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, have a healthy supply of standard formulas.
“Formula manufacturers have assured Utah WIC that production at all U.S. plants is running at full capacity with no delays,” wrote JoDell Geilmann-Parke, vendor manager of Utah WIC.
She said the currently supply of infant formula across Utah has greatly improved from the previous 10 months. But for parents like Hyer, it’s that non-standard kind that they can’t substitute for anything else, that seems difficult to track down in stores.
“Supply of non-standard infant formulas is not yet back to a consistent and reliable level,” Geilmann-Parke said in an email to KSL TV. “Special formulas include those made for babies with allergies or who have digestive or metabolic challenges.”
Hyer and his wife have had to ask around when the shelves are empty.
“We have family in Florida,” he said. “They’ve been able to find it a couple times, and they’ll send it all the way over here to us because we can’t find here.”
In recent weeks, he’s posted in Facebook groups like Formula Shortage-Utah to find people selling extra cans from their cupboards.
“I actually had to travel out to Eagle Mountain, about 40 minutes away,” he said.
Hyer said it ended up being about a two-hour trip for three cans of formula.
For families who can’t find the formula they need, Utah WIC suggests calling their medical provider. They said doctors can often provide samples or guide patients to alternative options.
Utah WIC also recommends calling ahead to stores before shopping to see if formula is in stock, or when a shipment is set to arrive.
There are also groups on Facebook, like what Hyer has found, where people will post what they need and others will post where they’re finding formula.
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