With infant formula still in short supply amid an ongoing nationwide shortage, the Long Beach Health Department announced plans to distribute 950 boxes of powder to eligible families beginning Tuesday after receiving the stipend from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“We know that many Long Beach families have felt the effects of this shortage,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement Friday. “We are working hard to get formula into the hands of families and bring some relief to our parents, caregivers and children.”
According to a statement from the city, the cans will be distributed at four locations. They are:
- St. Mary’s Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) Office, 1043 Elm Ave., #401, Tuesdays 9 a.m. to noon;
- Ron Arias Health Equity Center, 6335 Myrtle Ave., Thursdays 1-4 p.m.;
- Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st St., Fridays 3-5 p.m., and
- Main Office of Health, 2525 Grand Ave., Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon.
The formula will be available for families with children up to 9 months old who participate in a federal assistance program and who have a need for food.
Each of the distribution sites will offer both Enfamil Infant Instant Formula milk-based powder with iron and Similac Advance infant powder, the city health department said.
Distribution is expected to continue through August while supplies last.
The U.S. infant formula shortage is in its sixth month due to a combination of COVID-related supply chain issues and the closure of one of the nation’s largest manufacturing plants due to of contamination.
In response to the shortage, Los Angeles County purchased $750,000 worth of infant formula in late May.
“I know many parents and caregivers are worried and anxious about the shortage of formula,” County Supervisor Hilda Solis said in announcing the May 28 purchase. ‘As county government, it is our responsibility to be the safety net for our residents and meet the needs of the most vulnerable.”
The City of Los Angeles has also taken steps to address the shortage, with the Los Angeles City Council last month ratifying a local emergency declaration by Mayor Eric Garcetti to prevent local prices from rising.
“President Biden, the Federal Trade Commission and the California Attorney General have all warned against illegal and predatory behavior, including price gouging, in the infant formula market,” the city council resolution reads.
“The nationwide shortage, while not causing the same shortages in the City of Los Angeles as in other parts of the county, nevertheless poses an imminent threat to the ability of parents and caregivers to obtain infant formula in the city.”
Under the City of LA’s emergency declaration, it is illegal for any person or business to sell infant or toddler formula for more than 10% of the price charged before the emergency was declared.
“As we see this shortage spread across the country, now is the time to prepare and take proactive measures to protect our families and the most vulnerable residents,” Garcetti said June 3 in his announcement regarding the declaration of emergency. “This statement should not be taken as cause for concern – it should inspire confidence that we are thinking ahead and taking appropriate action to ensure our city is ready to protect Angelenos.”
In Long Beach, more information about formula updates and resources is available at longbeach.gov/formulaupdates or by calling the LB Resource Line at 562-570-4246.