Frequently Asked Question for imported formula for Oregon WIC participants

Shipments of infant formula are arriving from Australia and Europe as a part of Operation Fly Formula and will be on the shelves soon. This Frequently Asked Questions document is specific to the imported formulas available for WIC participants.


Which formulas are available to Oregon WIC participants from Operation Fly Formula?
The following formulas have been added as alternatives to Similac Advance:
• Kendamil Classic First Infant Milk Stage 1, 900 g/31.75 oz can
• Kendamil Organic First Infant Milk Stage 1, 800 g/28.2 oz can
• Bubs Organic Grass Fed Infant Formula Stage 1, 800g/28.2 oz can
The following formula has been added as an alternative to Similac Sensitive:
• Bubs Supreme A2 Beta-Casein Protein Infant Formula Stage 1, 800 g/28.2 oz can

How were the formulas selected?
The Food and Nutrition Service USDA granted a waiver under the Access to Baby Formula Act of 2022 allowing WIC State agencies to authorize and issue imported formulas. Imported formulas must meet the Food and Drug Administration and WIC requirements for infant formula. The imported formula must meet the following criteria to be approved:
• Manufacturers must be registered with the FDA
• Infant formula must be Iron fortified. The iron level must be at least 0.6mg/100mL
• Infant formula must have an energy level of at least 19 Calories/oz
Oregon WIC chose to participate in this waiver process to provide imported formula that met those standards.

I don’t know how to mix it. The instructions are in metric. What do I do?”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has created an infographic with helpful information on mixing imported formulas, including conversions from metric to imperial measurements. This infographic is available here: https://tinyurl.com/Metric-Mixing. The infographic is also attached to the June 10,
2022 Formula Update email.

Where will these formulas be sold?
We do not know for sure which stores will receive formulas imported through Operation Fly Formula at this time. WIC participants can purchase these formulas at any Oregon WIC authorized store that has them in stock. We have heard from Target that they will be getting the Kendamil Classic and Kendamil Organic formula. We will continue to share any updates from Oregon WIC vendors as we receive them.

When will these formulas be available to purchase?
We do not know for sure when these formulas will be available in Oregon WIC authorized stores. One estimate is that some formulas may have been imported on June 9, 2022. It will take several days or more to distribute to stores. The four formulas available for Oregon WIC participants were added to TWIST on
June 8, 2022. It typically takes 5-7 days from the date added to TWIST for products to be available for WIC participants to purchase with their eWIC cards once the formulas reach stores.

How do I know that these formulas are safe to feed my child?

Only formulas which met specific requirements by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were allowed to be imported. The formulas selected to be made available for Oregon WIC participants have been reviewed by the FDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, and Oregon WIC. Formulas that have been made available for Oregon WIC participants must meet the following criteria:
• Manufacturers must be registered with the FDA
• Infant formulas must be Iron fortified. The iron level must be at least 0.6mg/100ml
• Have an energy level of at least 19 Calories/oz

Will more formulas be added?
Oregon WIC will review the formulas available through Operation Fly Formula and approved for the FDA/USDA waiver for WIC programs when they become available. We will continue to update Oregon WIC vendors, local agencies, and participants. The Temporary Replacements to Powder Formula document available in the WICShopper App and on our website will be updated as changes are made.

Department of Health and Human Services offers resources during infant formula shortage

Fact Sheet: Helping Families Find Formula During the Infant Formula Shortage

To address infant formula shortages in the wake of Abbott Nutrition’s voluntary recall of certain powdered infant formulas, the Biden-Harris Administration is working to ensure that infant formula is safe and available for families across the country. Yesterday, President Biden spoke with retailers and manufacturers, including Walmart, Target, Reckitt, and Gerber, to discuss ways to get more formula quickly and safely onto store shelves. He also announced a series of actions, including cutting red tape on the types of formula parents can buy, calling on the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to crack down on price gouging and unfair market practices, and increasing the supply of formula through increased imports.

Thanks to these efforts, manufacturers have ramped up production 30-50 percent, bringing total production today above pre-recall levels with a different mix of products and sizes now available in the market. Still, it’s clear that too many families continue to encounter challenges obtaining infant formula—especially families of about 5,000 infants as well as some older children and adults with rare metabolic diseases that depend on specialty formulas.

If you are unable to readily find formula, please consult the following resources that may be able to assist:

Manufacturer Hotlines

  • Gerber’s MyGerber Baby Expert : reach a certified nutrition or lactation consultant by phone, text, Facebook Messenger, web chat, or video call, who can help you identify a similar formula that may be more readily available
  • Abbott’s Consumer Hotline: call 1-800-986-8540
  • Abbott’s urgent product request line : ask your OBGYN or your infant’s pediatrician to submit an urgent product request by downloading and completing the form – PDF 
  • Reckitt’s Customer Service line: call 1-800 BABY-123 (222-9123)

Community Resources

  • Locate your nearest Community Action Agency (CAA) . Your neighborhood CAA may be able to provide you with formula or connect you with local agencies that have formula in stock.
  • United Way’s 2-1-1 : dial 2–1-1 to be connected to a community resource specialist affiliated with United Way who may be able to help you identify food pantries and other charitable sources of local infant formula and baby food.
  • Feeding America : call your local food bank to ask whether they have infant formula and other supplies in stock.
  • Human Milk Banking Association of North America  (HMBANA): certain HMBANA-accredited milk banks are distributing donated breast milk to mothers in need; please note that some may require a prescription from a medical professional. Find an HMBANA-accredited milk bank .

WIC-Eligible Families

  • Contact your local WIC office to identify or obtain additional sources of infant formula nearby. In Malheur County, WIC can be contacted at 541-889-7279.

General Guidance

  • Call your OBGYN or pediatrician to see if they have in-office samples or can suggest a similar formula that may be more readily available in stores and is nutritionally similar to your infant’s typical formula.
  • You should not water down formula, try to make formula at home, or use toddler formula to feed infants. Don’t discard formula unless it is expired or is part of the recall. Check your formula’s lot code  to see whether or not it was affected by the recall.
  • Keep smaller retailers in mind when looking for infant formula. Larger retailers tend to sell out more quickly.
  • You can find more guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics .

FDA announces recall of infant formula

The Food and Drug Administration has announced a recall of powdered infant formulas made by Abbott at its Sturgis, Michigan, plant. Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas. Abbott has voluntarily recalled these products after four consumer complaints about the formulas.

To check whether the infant formula in your home is included in the recall, look on the bottom of the container. If the multi-digit number starts with the first two digits 22 through 37, contains K8, SH or Z2 and has an expiration date of April 1, 2022 or after, it is under recall. To find out if the product you have is included in the recall, visit Product Lookup (similacrecall.com) and type in the code on the bottom of the package, or call 1-800-986-8540 (U.S.) and follow the instructions provided. If you have questions about feeding your child, contact your healthcare professional.

Some questions about the recall will be answered here: FAQ (similacrecall.com)

For infants on the WIC program

If your baby received Similac formula as part of the WIC program and that formula has been recalled, you can call Abbott directly at 1-800-986-8540, check with the store where you purchased the recalled formula to see whether they are able to replace your formula with the same product, a substitute product, store credit, or a cash refund. If the store does not have replacement formula in stock, please call Malheur County WIC at 541-889-7279 to explore options.

If the formula you have is not affected by the recall, it is safe to use.

If you have unused benefits and need to purchase formula:

  • Check the lot number to ensure you are not purchasing formula that is part of the recall.
  • If you cannot find formula that is not affected by the recall, please call Malheur County WIC to explore options.
  • If you are unable to reach Malheur County WIC, please call 971-673-0040, and the Oregon WIC staff will do their best to respond to your questions.