In response to an ongoing shortage of baby formula in the United States, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that the state will ramp up programs to help low-income families during the crisis.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, Illinois will partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Service to encourage retailers to set aside baby formula for low-income families that are sniped up for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
Caseworkers will also be available on the Illinois Department of Human Services’ help line, which can be accessed at 1-800-843-6154, to help residents who are seeking help in obtaining enough baby formula until the shortage eases.
“The ongoing formula shortage has brought undue stress into the lives of new parents, and my administration will do everything in our power to help families maintain access to formula,” Pritzker said in a statement. “We’ve partnered with our suppliers and continue to ramp up our support centers to ensure our residents, especially low-income families, have what they need to care for their babies.”
State health officials are asking families to purchase “a modest supply of formula” in coming weeks to help get through the ongoing shortage.
Officials say that the shortage is expected to ease in coming weeks as a factory run by Abbott Laboratories, which had been shut down due to an FDA recall earlier this year, resumes operation after reaching a deal with the federal government.
The timeline for the reopening of the plant is unknown at this time. The company will need to prove to the government that its processes are safe, and even after it’s given the go-ahead, it could take eight-to-ten weeks for the first shipments of formula to begin, according to officials.
Another deal allowing more imports of formula is also expected to help ease the crisis.