FALLS CHURCH, Va. — It has been over two months since the Arroyo family opened up their Falls Church, Virginia, home to speak to WUSA9 about their struggle to find infant formula for their daughter Ellie.
The 2-year-old has severe food allergies and relies solely on the Abott Nutrition product EleCare Junior, which was just one of many infant formulas that were scarce due to the national shortage that started in February.
"Our situation has not changed at all," said Jillian to WUSA9, "We are still feeding our child expired formula because that is what we have."
Jillian and Chris say they have exhausted all their resources trying to locate the product including their local pharmacies and pediatrician that cannot track down any EleCare. The parents say the shelves at their grocery stores in Virginia are still empty and for many families like the Arroyos, the struggle continues.
During a May testimony, the FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf told members of the House appropriations subcommittee that they were working to address the issue adding that it is, “going to take a while to fix.”
Two months later, Chris' frustration is increasing by what he says is the insistent use of the vague timeframe, "upcoming weeks".
"I feel like at this rate we are going to continue talking about this until December."
The Arroyo family says back in June, Abbott Nutrition reached out to them to offer a free case of EleCare Junior when production was back up and running, but the infant formula has yet to show up at their doorstep.
WUSA9 reached out to Abbott about their supply and about the case of formula, but have not heard back.
"We feel very trapped," says Jillian. Ellie has not reacted well to substitutes when they have attempted other products.
"I am still, still breastfeeding," said the frustrated mother who says she did not plan to continue lactating until her daughter was two. Jillian has to maintain a strict diet free of dairy, wheat, oats, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, and tomato among other items because Ellie reacts to the foods through her breast milk.
Jillian continues channeling her frustration into activism, informing parents through her Facebook and Instagram pages "Abbot Formula Recall". She also continues writing letters to elected officials to remind them that the shortage is not over and that families like hers are still facing dire situations.