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USDA Expands Flexibility to Help Manufacturers and States Provide Formula to WIC Families


department will continue to bear the cost of the replacement formula

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2022 – USDA is expanding key funding flexibility for the WIC program, which allows states Agencies and their infant formula manufacturers work together to provide more choices for WIC families in need of formula. Under this flexibility—now extended through the end of September—USDA is covering the additional cost of non-contract formula to make it economically viable for states to allow WIC participants to purchase other sizes, formats, or brands of infant formula .

“Ensuring families have the recipes they need remains an all-in, cross-agency effort, and the USDA remains fully engaged,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “WIC families are counting on us, and we will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to provide them with the nutrition their babies need.”

Overall, WIC state agencies have worked with three One of the manufacturers contracts to supply formula to partially or fully formula-fed infants with WIC. Using new authority provided by the Access to Infant Formula Act, the USDA recommended in May that state agencies contracting with Reckitt Mead Johnson (RMJ) or Gerber seek contractual flexibility to allow alternative formula if the size of the contract, Form or brand is not available. To help make this financially viable, USDA is covering the additional cost of these alternative formulations while supply is still affected and will continue to do so through September 30, 2022.

USDA has also previously offered the flexibility to temporarily hold a contract in states with Abbott (the third formula maker and subject of a voluntary formula recall in February) Alternative formula is allowed. Abbott is currently covering this cost difference until September 30, 2022.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service continues to work tirelessly to ensure that WIC participants and stakeholders have the information they need to maintain infant feeding and are safe. Within hours of the recall, the agency provided guidance to WIC state agencies and the flexibility to help them cope. The FNS continues to provide states with ongoing assistance and support so they can adapt as the situation evolves, with nearly 500 waiver requests granted to date.

In close collaboration with the Department of Health, Human Services, FDA and the Biden-Harris Administration, recent USDA actions include:

  • Coordinated inter-government operation “Formulas on the Fly” to quickly transport safe specialty and routine formulas into the country.
  • Provides toolkit and guidance for WIC state agencies and stakeholders to assist in the distribution of imported formula.
  • Calls on states to utilize all available WIC flexibilities and waivers that can help those they serve and provide broad, Tailored technical assistance to facilitate this process. Almost all state agencies now have exemptions that apply.
  • Provide guidance to child and adult care food program operators who may offer formula to infants in their care to help They deal with the impact of shortages.

More information on the following USDA responses can be found at Food and Nutrition Services’ Found on the Baby Formula Shortage Response webpage.

The USDA impacts the lives of all Americans every day in many positive ways. During the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming America’s food system, focusing more on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring that all communities have access to healthy and nutrient-dense food, harnessing the climate for farmers and production Leaders build new markets and revenue streams with smart food and forestry practices, make historic investments in rural America’s infrastructure and clean energy capabilities, and work to achieve the sector-wide by removing systemic barriers and building a more American-representative workforce fairness. To learn more, visit


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