Erie County trying to help with baby formula crisis

Near empty store shelf at a Walmart grocery store in Orlando, Florida
Near empty store shelf at a Walmart grocery store in Orlando, Florida Photo credit USA Today

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) Erie County leaders are looking to do what they can to help with the baby formula shortage.

"I'm introducing a resolution that calls on Erie County to see if the purchasing department can procure baby formula for our residents," said Legislator Joe Lorigo.

The Legislature Minority Leader said the purchasing department was able to secure PPE during the midst of the Covid pandemic at a successful rate, and he'd like to see if they can do the same with baby formula.

"If it can be done, we'd like to provide the formula to local residents, at cost," he said.

Lorigo wants to hear from the Purchasing Director, Social Services Commissioner, Commissioner of Health, and Emergency Services Commissioner to see whether this is possible.

"I know that there are moms out there who can't breast feed and thousands and thousands of babies rely on formula as a way to survive. It's something that no parent should ever have to worry about."

Is it possible that a move like this could actually make matters worse, by spurring panic buying?

"The panic is already there," he said. Everyday I see people traversing the county to see which store has which formula. This is basic sustenance. If parents can't get ahold of it, babies are in danger and we can't have that happen."

Lorigo's resolution also calls on the federal government to start looking at the Defense Production Act to see if it is something they can help with.

"If it's doable, it could provide peace of mind at a time when supply chain issues are as bad as they are."

Lorigo is hoping to explore the idea next week in committee.

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