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Baby formula should be available online to low-income families, Blumenthal says

Susan Haigh

Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators said the federal government should allow low-income families the opportunity to access baby formula online. Currently, families who participate in the Women, Infants and Children program are not eligible.

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) are calling on Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, to change that rule.

“Non-WIC purchasers can buy online, but the recipients and participants of WIC benefits are barred from online purchases,” Blumenthal said. “That’s wrong and it’s also costly.”

They also said Abbott Laboratories, which makes about 40% of the U.S. baby formula supply, should provide relief to mothers enrolled in state WIC programs.

Last week, the state General Assembly’s committee on Public Health and Children held a forum to address the shortage. State Senator Saud Anwar, a medical doctor and a co-chair of the Committee on Children, said parents should not create their own baby formulas.

“Some children will get severely ill if they get a formula that is not appropriate for them,” said Anwar. “Those are the vulnerable ones that we have to actually have a strategy for and then make sure that they are made the priority.”

Parents in need of the formula could go online or call 211 in Connecticut.

Mike Lyle is a former reporter and host at WSHU.