First 5 California Statement on the Infant Formula Shortage

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--()--As California children and families continue to recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many families now face a national shortage of infant formula. Long-term supply chain issues have impacted U.S. manufacturing, but the infant formula supply chain was recently disrupted due to Abbott Nutrition recall of infant formula, affecting families in California and across the United States.

The First 5 California has been in communication with Governor Newsom’s Administration and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to provide credible information and resources as the federal government works on strategies to increase production of formula and help families access existing supplies. “We are committed to ensuring that every parent and caregiver of an infant has access to healthy and safe baby formula, and we are working with our state leaders to lift our voices of the urgency to address the formula shortage swiftly and safely,” said Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, Executive Director of First 5 California.

According to CDPH:

  • Parents and caregivers should contact their healthcare provider first when baby formula supply options are scarce.
  • Parents and caregivers should NOT dilute formula or use homemade recipes for substitution when formula supply is scarce.
  • Families on Women, Infants & Children Program (WIC), should use formula benefits early. Ask your WIC or health care provider for guidance on other formulas you could use. WIC can also assist families who want to continue to breastfeed but need support.
  • Babies usually tolerate alternative formula products, except in the case of special therapeutic formula. Consult with your healthcare provider first to get help or discuss alternative options.

CDPH/WIC is working closely with federal partners at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to monitor participant access to WIC-provided formulas. CDPH also temporarily expanded the WIC authorized product list to include additional infant formula options for California families using WIC benefits and is continuing to work to add more options.

On May 18, 2022, President Biden announced additional steps to increase formula production and distribution by ensuring manufacturers have the necessary ingredients to make safe and healthy infant formula. Earlier last week, the United States Food and Drug Administration and Abbott reached an agreed on next steps to reopen the Abbott facility in Michigan and begin safely importing formula to supplement the current shortage. Through Operation Fly Formula, non-domestic safe therapeutic formula has been rapidly imported and now in distribution phase to hospitals and healthcare providers.

As our state health officials continue to assess the situation, First 5 California will provide updates as information is available.

For more information about First 5 California, visit


First 5 California was established in 1998 when voters passed Proposition 10, which taxes tobacco products to fund services for children ages 0 to 5 and their families. First 5 California programs and resources are designed to educate and support teachers, parents, and caregivers in the critical role they play during a child's first five years – to help California kids receive the best possible start in life and thrive. For more information, please visit


Jamiann Collins-Lopez
(916) 316-1924


Jamiann Collins-Lopez
(916) 316-1924