Federal probe launched into baby formula crisis


The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday it is initiating an investigation into the baby formula shortage facing American families.

The independent agency tasked with enforcing antitrust and consumer protection laws said it is seeking information about whether any “deceptive, fraudulent or otherwise unfair business practices aimed at taking advantage of families” had occurred. The FTC said it hopes to shed light on the causes of the supply chain disaster, which has piled on to President Biden’s woes.

“The FTC is launching a public inquiry to identify the factors that contributed to the shortage or hampered our ability to respond to it,” Chair Lina M. Khan said in a statement. “Learning from this experience can help determine how we can minimize the risk of similar shortages in the markets for other life-sustaining products.”

The FTC is seeking public comments through June 24 from families about their experiences, including situations that may have involved “fraud, deception, or scams when attempting to purchase infant formula,” purchasing from online resellers at “exorbitant prices” or witnessing retailers “stock-piling” formula for personal or resale use.

The formula crisis emerged after a major supplier, Abbott Nutrition, shuttered a facility earlier this year due to inadequate conditions.

Over the weekend, the Biden administration began flying in formula from abroad in an effort to address the domestic supply shortage. The president has also invoked the wartime Defense Production Act to speed up production.

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