New York declares emergency to prevent baby formula price gouging

New York, May 22 (EFE).- New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday declared a state of emergency to halt the rapid rise in the price of baby formula, a product for which there is an unprecedented shortage in the United States.

“The nationwide infant formula shortage has caused unimaginable pain and anxiety for families across New York – and we must act with urgency,” Adams said in a press release.

“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. Our message to struggling mothers and families is simple: Our city will do everything in its power to assist you during this challenging period,” the Democratic mayor added.

The rule defines “price gouging” as charging a price 10 percent or more above the regular price of a product.

In recent weeks, finding baby formula – also known as powdered milk – has been a real challenge for parents in a number of states.

The shortage has been caused by global supply chain problems arising from the coronavirus pandemic and the difficulties at the Sturgis, Michigan, production plant owned and operated by Abbott Nutrition, the main manufacturer of baby formula in the US.

New Yorkers who have been overcharged for baby formula can file a complaint with the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection at nyc.gov/dcwp or by calling 311.

The shortage of baby formula around the US is harming parents and families in New York at a time when the city is still recovering from the pandemic crisis, said Anne Williams-Isom, New York City’s deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, in the same communique.

Former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the same kind of emergency designed to prevent price gouging at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when stores began raising their prices for hand sanitizer and facemasks.

According to the New York City Hall, on the national level, more than 40 percent of the large retail stores – such as Target – do not have any baby formula on their shelves.

Last Wednesday, President Joe Biden authorized the Department of Defense to use its contracts with commercial airlines to import baby formula from anywhere in the world it can be found in what the White House dubbed “Operation Fly Formula.”

In addition, Biden invoked a law dating back to the Cold War to accelerate the production of baby formula in the US.

EFE syr/cfa/bp

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