Information on the Shortage of Infant Formula for Babies with Food Allergies

Posted: June 13, 2022

Publié le 13 June 2022

The College is notifying dietitians of the following update from Health Canada and Ontario Ministry of Health as it may be applicable to their dietetic practice.


News Update: September 1, 2022
Canada continues to experience a limited supply of specialized infant formulas, which are often used as the primary source of nutrition for infants with metabolic disorders, severe gastrointestinal diseases and allergic intolerance. 
A national clinical decision tree entitled, Use of Specialized Infant Formula During a Shortage, was developed (and page two has recently been updated) to support health care providers across the country to guide treatment decisions, and support parents and caregivers to make appropriate formula choices while rationing the use of specialized infant formulas.

This tool offers specific guidance to health care providers when counseling families, discussing safe alternatives, and conserving limited national supplies of specialized formulas.

Dietitians can access and review Health Canada’s interim policy on the importation and sale of infant formulas, human milk fortifiers and dietary products for the treatment of inborn errors of metabolism to mitigate shortages. The College will continue to review updates and share information as appropriate.

Since the College’s last infant formula news update, Canada continues to experience infant formula shortages (extensively hydrolyzed and amino acid-based) for infants with food allergies and certain medical conditions. Please note that there is no current shortage of regular infant formula in Canada.

Health Canada has indicated the speciality formula shortage is likely to continue despite the recent resumption of production at the Abbott manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Michigan.

The Ontario Ministry of Health is taking this situation very seriously and is actively supporting Health Canada’s work to mitigate the effects of this shortage. Please see the following important information and resources below:
  • Fact Sheet for Families and Caregivers
  • Health Canada’s Interim Policy
    • The policy continues to be updated as the situation evolves, and we encourage dietitians to consult with it regularly. The formulas will be available in pharmacies and Health Canada strongly encourages it to be kept behind the counter for better control inventory and reserve them for infants who need them most.
  • National Clinical Decision Tree
  • Ontario’s Inherited Metabolic Diseases (IMD) Program
    • The Ontario Ministry of Health has added updates to the list for products reimbursed through the IMD Program  
The College appreciates the collaboration of all system partners and dietitians in addressing and mitigating this issue and supporting infants in Ontario. We will continue to review updates and share information as appropriate.