Baby formula shortage drives NYC to declare state of emergency — Analysis

New York City declared a state of emergency in response to the continuing shortage of baby formula. This could allow officials to take action against the profiteering that has taken place.

On Sunday, Mayor Eric Adams announced that the move gives city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection power to stop price gouging and crack down on retail.

“This emergency executive order will help us to crack down on any retailer looking to capitalize on this crisis by jacking up prices on this essential good,”Adams. “Our message to struggling mothers and families is simple: Our city will do everything in its power to assist you during this challenging period.”

Officials from the city released a press release stating that New York City parents who believe they have been overcharged for formula may now lodge a complaint via the NYC government website.

The US has been faced with a nationwide shortage of baby formula since February, after already existing supply chain issues stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic were exacerbated by a major product recall by one of the country’s main formula manufacturers, Abbott Laboratories, who were also forced to shut down their largest production facility in the country after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reportedly found evidence of bacterial contamination at the plant which allegedly contributed to four infants falling ill, two of which died.

US announces steps to combat shortage of baby formula

Abbott denied all allegations and insisted that there has never been any bacteria contamination of its finished products. Although the manufacturer is working closely with FDA to restart its manufacturing facility as quickly as possible, it has acknowledged that stock may still take months to reach shelves.

The Biden administration is trying to alleviate the shortage by invoking Defense Production Act. This gives the president of the United States the power to order manufacturers to prioritise contracts that are necessary for national defence, regardless of any loss to business, and also allows them to prohibit hoarding or price gouging.

Pentagon also announces a military operation that will transport products from abroad to the US, provided they comply with safety and nutrition guidelines established by FDA. This has been promised to speed up the process so the formula can reach shelves sooner.

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