Nadeau Introduces Infant Formula Consumer Protection Emergency Amendment Act of 2022
For Immediate Release | May 23, 2022
Contact: Jaqueline Castaneda, Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org (202) 262-8998
Nadeau Legislation would Prevent Price Gouging of Infant Formula, Provide Powers to AG
Washington -- Today, in an effort to ensure babies have access to affordable, lifesaving nutrition, Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau filed emergency legislation to prohibit price gouging in the infant formula market. “The Infant Formula Consumer Protection Emergency Amendment Act of 2022,” crafted in collaboration with Attorney General Karl Racine and co-introduced by all of Councilmember Nadeau’s colleagues, targets the most egregious actors for price gouging enforcement. As an emergency measure, this legislation would require a two-thirds vote to be adopted.
For many District families, formula is the most essential household good. One third of District infants do not breastfeed, and for infants with medical conditions requiring special formula or whose mothers cannot breastfeed, formula is the only available means of nutrition.
“As a mom of two kids under 5, I know firsthand how important the early years are for development, and that access to infant formula can literally make the difference between life and death” said Nadeau. “Our nation has reached a crisis point, and the District can and should protect our residents from opportunistic and unscrupulous actors who are harming our children.”
“No family should have to worry about whether they can feed their children. Councilmember Nadeau’s crucial legislation will help ensure families across the District can get the formula they need for their babies at a reasonable price,” said Attorney General Karl Racine. “The Office of the Attorney General has stood up to businesses who took advantage of District residents during the pandemic, and we will do so again during this emergency. I urge the Council to quickly enact Councilmember Nadeau’s bill.”
This legislation would give the Office of the Attorney General the authority to sue merchants who drastically upcharge infant formula. The penalty for first-time offenders would be $5,000, and the penalty for each subsequent offense would be $10,000.
Recent formula shortages, exacerbated by multiple recalls, have taken a toll on District families, with many parents spending hours a day looking for formula. What’s worse, the formula that’s left in stores is substantially more expensive than it was a few months ago. And when formula products are in stock online, they are often marked up by 200 or 300 percent or more. Products that are priced normally are backed up several weeks, and even people who pay for special delivery services are finding formula out of stock online.
In response, on May 12, 2022, President Biden called on state attorneys general to “crack down on any price gouging or unfair market practices related to sales of infant formula.”
It is critical that families follow D.C. Health’s advice for the remainder of the formula shortage crisis: “infant formula should never be diluted. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the can to prepare formula. Additionally, parents and caregivers should not make or feed homemade infant formula to infants.”
For families receiving WIC benefits, know that your benefits can be used to purchase infant formula from all major infant formula companies at authorized food retailers through August 31, 2022. If a WIC family cannot locate their infant formula at a grocery store, the family can call their WIC clinic in real time and change the infant formula on their EBT card to align with store availability. More information on formula substitutions is available at dcwic.org.
And if you believe that a merchant has engaged in a prohibited trade practice, including impermissible price gouging, please contact the Office of the Attorney General at (202) 442-9828 or email@example.com.
Nadeau added, “Both of my children needed infant formula at the earliest stages of their lives. Without the ability to find it easily and quickly, we would have been in crisis. No family should be in this position.”