About half of the infant formula in the US is purchased by those using federal WIC benefits. Some 1.2 million infants are in the WIC program, formally known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Each state has a contract with a single manufacturer.

Abbott Nutrition, which is contending with a massive recall of its formula, is the exclusive provider to about half of infants in WIC. The February recall has exacerbated shortages caused by ongoing supply chain issues, leaving all parents with fewer choices in many stores. The recall has been blamed for more than a dozen deaths.

US Department of Agriculture outlines steps it has already taken to help low-income families. waivers to states to give parents using WIC benefits a wider array of options. Authorized since February, the waivers allow families to purchase alternate container sizes and forms of formula. President Joe Biden has come under fire for not addressing the problem sooner and for taking limited action.

Three states are using the waiver. Michigan is the only one not to use it. The waiver allows parents to get their children's formula for free if they are sick or have a medical condition that requires it. It also allows them to get a refund if they don't get their child's formula.
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