This morning, Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order declaring a disaster emergency due to the nationwide infant formula shortage and making emergency funds immediately available to support the free distribution of donor human milk across Colorado.
Last week, the Polis-Primavera administration announced a partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank (MMB) through Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation to help address the infant formula shortage. Colorado and MMB are calling for donations of human milk or financial donations that would help families with the cost of supply, and bringing awareness to an alternative infant feeding supply during the current crisis.
The State is taking these actions in the wake of news that infant formula producer Abbott anticipates another six to eight-week delay until additional formula is available on retail shelves. Last week Ark Valley Voice covered the local baby formula supply situation and shortages have increased across the state since then.
“While the federal government is working to address the nationwide infant formula shortage, the State must also act to protect the health and safety of children in Colorado,” the Governor’s Executive Order reads.
“Infant formula is a crucial source, and in some cases the only source, of nutrition and sustenance for countless infants. The nationwide infant formula shortage is a disaster that threatens the lives of children throughout our state,” read the Governor’s Executive Order. “It is incomprehensible that babies’ health is threatened by the formula shortage, and the State must ensure that donor human milk, which can be used in place of formula in many instances, is as accessible as possible for all families in need. Additionally, no one should take advantage of parents or caregivers who are trying to feed infants during this formula shortage.”
The Executive Order goes on to declare that “During a declared disaster, price gouging for consumer goods is unlawful and the Attorney General and District Attorneys have the power to enforce against illegal price gouging using C.R.S. § 6-1-730. I urge the Attorney General’s Office to pursue any violations of the Consumer Protection Act.”
“This Executive Order makes emergency funds available to MMB to support the free distribution of donor human milk across the state. The emergency funds will subsidize the cost of donor human milk for families in need and cover fees for shipping milk for both donors and recipients,” the Governor’s Executive Order states.
Information on how to donate or purchase milk, or make a donation can be found at milkbankcolorado.org. Executive branch agencies of the Polis-Primavera administration are exploring other ways to assist families as the shortage continues. The Governor encourages anyone who has unused and unopened formula to donate it to a local food bank. Additional information is available on the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s webpage.