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Letitia James issues a warning to retailers to end price gouging baby formula after 50 percent hikes

Attorney General Letitia James has vowed to crack down on any New York retailer that takes advantage of an infant formula shortage by raising the price of the out-of-stock supplement after reports of price increases of up to 50 percent.

On Friday, James announced that his office has sent cease and desist letters to more than 30 unnamed retailers and online stores in New York state accused of price gouging.

James ordered that companies stop overcharging for baby formula immediately.

The cease and desist letters come weeks after James issued a consumer alert encouraging customers to notify his office if they think a retailer is jacking up formula prices.

The Attorney General said her office has since received several complaints, including a report that a retailer in Erie County was selling a 19.8-ounce can of Enfamil Nutramigen formula, which typically retails for $44.99, goes for $59.99, a whopping 33 percent price increase.

James said his office also received reports of a Bronx retailer selling a ready-to-feed 32-ounce bottle of Enfamil NeuroPro for $17.99 when it normally sells for $11.99, a 50 percent price increase.

US states have been cracking down on price gouging amid the supply crisis.

In Virginia, the statewide stock-out rate hit 58 percent for the week ending May 14, prompting Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney to call on Governor Glenn Youngkin to declare a state of emergency that will trigger anti-gouging statutes, which Youngkin has yet to enact.

Last weekend, New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency and issued an executive order the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to prevent the increase in formula prices in the city.

Attorneys general in Oregon and Georgia have also cracked down on formula price speculators, Bloomberg reported.

Letitia James issues a warning to retailers to end price

Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office has sent cease and desist letters to more than 30 retailers and online stores in New York State accused of price gouging.

Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office has sent cease and desist letters to more than 30 retailers and online stores in New York State accused of price gouging.

James ordered that companies stop overcharging for baby formula immediately.

James ordered that companies stop overcharging for baby formula immediately.

Due to the national shortage, James' office has recommended that parents only buy the formula they really need and not stock up, only making the shortage worse.

Due to the national shortage, James’ office has recommended that parents only buy the formula they really need and not stock up, only making the shortage worse.

Back in New York, James criticized anyone who took advantage of desperate parents.

“It is inconceivable that some retailers are taking advantage of a national shortage of baby formula while parents are struggling to find food for their children,” James said in a statement.

‘In the midst of this crisis, families already have enough to worry about and they shouldn’t have to worry about rising prices. We are warning all retailers that New York will not tolerate infant formula price gouging, and I encourage anyone who sees this to continue to report it to my office.”

Due to the national shortage, James’ office has recommended that parents only buy the formula they really need and not stock up, which only leads to the shortage worsening and the price rising.

Last week, about 45 percent of formula products nationwide were out of stock, with the worst shortages in Nashville, Tennessee, and Richmond, Virginia, where shortage rates exceeded 57 percent. Bloomberg informed.

The most affected parents are those whose children have dietary or other problems that limit the types of formula they can eat.

The problem was sparked by the closure in February of one of the largest producers of baby formula in the United States, in Michigan, after the facility was found to be contaminated and two babies died after consuming the products, although the factory insists that the bacteria in his factory did not contribute to the deaths of the infants.

President Biden has taken several steps to mitigate the worsening shortage of baby formula, including Operation Fly Formula, which aims to increase international imports of baby formula to increase U.S. supply.

President Biden has taken several steps to mitigate the worsening shortage of baby formula, including Operation Fly Formula, which aims to increase international imports of baby formula to increase U.S. supply.

On May 10, the container ship Independent Quest set sail for the Port of Philadelphia to deliver 42,000 cans of Danone formula.

On May 10, the container ship Independent Quest set sail for the Port of Philadelphia to deliver 42,000 cans of Danone formula.

Abbott announced last week that it had reached an agreement with the Food and Drug Administration to fix security problems at the facility, which has been closed for more than three months.

The shutdown exacerbated shortages and supply chain problems already caused by the pandemic. And he highlighted the strong monopoly of baby formula, with 98 percent produced within the United States, and three companies controlling more than 90 percent of the supply.

Many products from Europe cannot be imported, even though they are produced to a higher standard for many ingredients, because they do not have the required FDA labeling on the packaging.

On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into whether formula providers engaged in “deceptive, fraudulent, or otherwise unfair business practices” to “take advantage” of Americans, as well as what elements contributed to the fragility of the product supply chain and the concentration of most of the market in a few companies.

It also encourages Americans to speak out about whether they think any policies created by the federal and state governments contributed to the crisis, as the Biden administration works desperately to ease tension after being criticized for not acting sooner.

President Biden has taken several steps to mitigate the worsening shortage of baby formula, including Operation Fly Formula, which aims to increase international imports of baby formula to increase U.S. supply.

Among the measures Biden gave the green light amid mounting pressure to act on formula shortages was the authorization of commercial military aircraft to transport supplies from abroad, as long as they meet US health standards.

Over the weekend, approximately 78,000 pounds of baby formula was shipped to Indianapolis, Indiana from Ramstein Air Base in Germany in the first shipment of the program.

The president also invoked the Defense Production Law that requires providers to prioritize directing resources to infant formula production above all other contracts.

Last week, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill aimed at easing formula shortages, despite opposition from 192 Republicans.

Republican lawmakers have argued that giving the Food and Drug Administration more money, as the legislation does, is not a viable solution.

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