The supply of infant formula in Canada is currently limited. An important infant formula manufacturing facility in the United States closed for several months following a product recall in February 2022. This facility produced several popular products that accounted for a significant portion of the Canadian infant formula market. Although the facility reopened in July, it has not yet returned to its normal production capacity. This has increased the demand for infant formulas produced by other manufacturers.
The situation was critical during the summer of 2022 for specialized infant formula, including formula for babies with allergies. Health Canada mitigated the shortage by facilitating the importation of formula from other countries and recommending that specialized formulas be ordered through a pharmacist to make sure they were available for babies who needed them for medical reasons. The shortage of hypoallergenic formulas has now largely subsided and is replaced by a limited, but stable supply.
For regular infant formulas, the total supply remains sufficient to feed all Canadian babies. There are however fewer products and formats available, as manufacturers work to compensate for an increased demand for their products. In particular, the lower cost options, such as store brand powdered formulas, have often been out of stock since the fall of 2022. Although comparable products from other brands continue to be available, these may be more expensive, and this can be challenging for families who are also facing other pressures.
Access Health Canada Fact Sheet here and resources for families about formulas for infants with food allergies here. The Saskatchewan government has also issued a statement about the specialized infant formula shortage. Access their statement here.
Dietitian expertise is available to help navigate feeding challenges and formula selection. If you are unsure how to refer to or connect with a dietitian in your area please contact Jacqui Hodge at 306-766-8637 or Jacqui.email@example.com