Health Canada understands that any disruptions to the supply of infant formula can be distressing for parents and caregivers and shares their concerns. We have been working, and continue to work, with manufacturers to increase the types and amounts of infant formula products available in Canada, but we are aware that parents and caregivers continue to report difficulties locating particular products or formats.
Even though the situation is not completely back to normal, the shortage of hypoallergenic infant formula has largely subsided, the supply has been relatively stable, and needs are being met. While the total national supply of regular infant formula remains sufficient at this time, we are aware of concerns about finding store-brand or lower-cost infant formulas. Health Canada continues to do everything it can to mitigate the situation to provide families with the infant formula they need.
To help alleviate the lack of certain infant formulas, Health Canada has been working directly with manufacturers to increase the supply of formulas normally found on the Canadian market and to identify alternate products that can be imported from other countries. The Department has published an interim policy, which has been extended until December 31st 2023, to facilitate the importation of equivalent infant formulas from other countries that have high quality and manufacturing standards similar to Canada. More than 70 products, including 9 regular infant formulas have been authorized over the past year for temporary importation under this policy, and the list of products eligible for importation continues to be updated regularly.
In late February, to alleviate pressures on families looking for lower-cost products, new powdered regular formula, Similac Advance, approved for temporary importation started to appear on shelves at pharmacies and retailers across the country. Additionally, Health Canada has been reassured that there will be continued regular shipments of generic/ store brand formulas, including Kirkland and Parent’s Choice with more coming to shelves over the coming weeks. To further help address the availability of more affordable formulas that families rely on, Health Canada is in constant communication with manufacturers to ensure supply of the same or comparable products is available.
On March 18, 2023, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall of three lots of Nestlé®Good Start Soothe, a regular powdered infant formula, due to the potential presence of Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria. The product is being recalled as a precautionary measure. No illnesses have been reported in Canada or in the United States where the same product was distributed. Most of the Canadian recalled product is still in the manufacturer’s warehouse and had not yet made its way to store shelves.
No other Nestlé®Good Start products in Canada are affected by this recall, and other batches of the infant formula continue to be safe and available across the country, although in smaller quantities. Health Canada estimates that the recalled product represents a very small proportion of the Canadian powdered infant formula market. To address the potential impact of the recall, the Department has contacted other manufacturers to inform them of the recall and secure more products.
Health Canada understands that changing formulas for your child might create additional challenges for families. However, options are available for families who cannot locate their regular infant formula.
Health Canada will continue to work directly with manufacturers and retailers to increase the supply of formulas normally found on the Canadian market and to identify alternate safe and nutritious products that can be imported from other countries. In addition, we will continue to collaborate with provinces and territories, and with the healthcare community, to minimize the impacts of this situation on families across the country.