Wisconsin Governor signs executive order prohibiting price gouging of baby formula

The order will be in effect for 90 days

MADISON (WKBT) – Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order Thursday that prohibits price gouging of baby formula.

Emergency Order #164 declares that a “period of abnormal economic disruption exists and prohibits price gouging on infant baby formula for the next 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. “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.”

 “Unreasonably excessive prices,” according to the order are defined in administrative code as prices more than 15% higher than prices over the last two months. Consumers are encouraged to contact the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP) Bureau of Consumer Protection to file a complaint by visiting datcp.wi.gov or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 422-7128.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recommends families dealing with the shortage:

  • 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 Requests process to find specialty formulas.
  • Families with questions or concerns should contact their pediatrician or their WIC Clinic.

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