King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn on Thursday introduced legislation today that requests King County explore procuring infant formula for distribution to King County residents in need and provide guidance to the public in response to the nationwide shortage in infant formula.
“King County is seeing empty shelves where formula used to be. We need to do everything we can to get formula into the hands of families with babies in need,” Dunn said. “It is my hope that by acting quickly and proactively, we can begin to alleviate the shortage before it gets any worse than it already is.”
In Washington, at least 40% of major brands of formula are out of stock due to the compounding challenges of supply chain issues, product recalls, and historic inflation. Because of this, some retailers have announced that they will be, or are currently, limiting purchases allowed by customers.
Organizations like Eastside Baby Corner are currently seeing a record influx in requests for formula.
“Eastside Baby Corner has provided children and families basic needs items like diapers and baby formula in King County for over 32 years. The current shortage in baby formula is unprecedented and comes at a time when many families are struggling to provide the basics,” said Eastside Baby Corner Executive Director Jack Edgerton. “This proposed strong partnership between King County and the human service community will help King County’s infants meet critical nutrition needs, reduce family stress and help children thrive.”
Dunn’s motion would task King County with exploring ways to procure infant formula, including purchasing in bulk, partnering with federal and state governments, and any other means necessary, for distribution to King County residents in need. The legislation also asks that the County work with Public Health – Seattle & King County to develop guidance for caretakers on how to navigate the current shortage and coordinate with community partners including WestSide Baby, Eastside Baby Corner, local food banks, and local jurisdictions to spread the information to the residents of King County. If passed, a briefing on the progress of these efforts is requested by August 1, 2022.
The motion will be heard in the Law, Justice, Health and Human Services in the coming weeks.