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Germantown mother spends hours searching for baby formula, hopes Defense Production Act makes a difference

Posted at 6:35 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-22 10:09:55-04

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Relief could be coming for parents desperately searching for baby formula.

President Biden announced he is invoking the Defense Production Act. A Germantown mother who relies on formula to feed her baby says something needs to change.

Stephanie Braun did not anticipate she would be spending the days of her maternity leave trying to feed her baby. On Wednesday, she spent hours searching for formula.

Stephanie Braun with her 4-month-old baby son.

“It was a good five hours. I started in Franklin and ended in Menomonee Falls.,” said Braun. “At first, I was like okay, just keep trying, I will got to another store. But by store store 12, 13, I’m like ugh. You stare at the shelf like, this is getting old. I need to find something for my son to eat.”

Braun, like thousands of American families, relies on formula to feed her child. The formula shortage comes after Abbott Nutrition issued a massive voluntary recall and had to temporary close its Michigan plant in February. Wednesday night, President Biden enacted the Defense Production Act to help with the shortage. The White House says this will force suppliers to give needed resources to formula manufacturers before any other customer.

Stephanie Braun holds a small bottle of formula she has saved as a backup while she searches for more formula.

“Those who supply ingredients that are used in baby formula, they have to produce and supply those ingredients to the baby formula producer on a priority basis before they sell it to other customers,” said Abdur Chowdhury, Marquette economics professor.

So how quickly could parents see something happen?

Local mom spends her maternity leave searching for formula

“It happens quite quickly or you'd say within a week or two," said Chowdhury.

He says that along with steps the FDA announced will help. The FDA and Abbott Nutrition agreed to a plan to reopen the Michigan plant. Plus, the FDA announced guidance that will allow major manufacturers to import formula not being produced for the US market.

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