WISCONSIN — Governor Tony Evers has issued an emergency order prohibiting price gouging on infant formula, amid a nationwide shortage.
Due to supply chain issues and recalls, it has been difficult, and nearly impossible for some, to get much-needed baby formula. Stores are struggling to keep shelves stocked, as companies struggle to distribute the much-needed formula.
Now, Evers has declared a "period of abnormal economic disruption" which prohibits price gouging of infant formula for 90 days.
"No kid should ever go hungry, and no parent should have to worry about having access to formula, especially if their infant has special nutritional needs,” said Gov. Evers in a press release. “As families continue to feel the squeeze of rising costs and folks face difficulty getting supplies and resources quickly, this order makes it clear that retailers looking to take advantage of vulnerable families during this formula shortage will not be tolerated.”
The news comes after President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act which directs resources to formula manufacturers, in hopes of helping them get product out faster.
A press release from Evers says, "despite these actions, it will still take time to re-stock shelves and normalize business transactions."
For those parents in desperate need of formula, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has these recommendations:
- Do not water down or dilute formula to stretch it out. This prevents babies from getting nutrients that they need.
- Do not make homemade formulas. This is unsafe and will not meet a baby's nutritional needs.
- Avoid giving babies cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or plant-based milk until they are at least one year old, as these milks lack minerals and proteins and can give babies digestive issues. In rare emergency situations, whole cow’s milk can be given to infants over 6 months old, but parents and caregivers should consult with their child’s healthcare provider first.
- Check smaller stores and drug stores. They may have more stock than big stores.
- Search store websites before going in-person, and make sure to shop at reputable retailers or pharmacies.
- Check food pantries, charitable organizations, and others that may be able to help. WIC (Women, Infants, and Children’s program) clinics can help connect people to local food pantries.
- Buy only the formula needed in the immediate future and avoid stockpiling. This helps ensure other families have access to critical formula for their infants and allow manufacturers and retailers adequate time to restock shelves.
- Work with healthcare providers to use Abbott’s Urgent Product Requestsprocess to find specialty formulas.
- Families with questions or concerns should contact their pediatrician or their WIC Clinic.
Evers is also encouraging anyone who sees price gouging of formula to contact the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's Bureau of Consumer Protection to file a complaint.