FTC Opens Probe Into Infant Formula Shortage

On Tuesday the FTC launched an inquiry into the infant formula shortage, asking for information about how industry mergers, federal regulations and contracts to help feed low-income women and children may have contributed to the problem.

The agency, which enforces consumer protection and antitrust laws, said it will accept public comments and submissions through June 24. The FTC said it would work with officials who administer the federal program to feed infants — the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, more commonly known as WIC — to help analyze the results.

Related: America’s Addiction To Monopolies Caused The Baby Food Shortage

President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to relieve the shortage by importing emergency supplies from Europe, the first of which arrived earlier this week. Biden invoked the Cold War-era Defense Production Act to help boost supplies.

In a statement, FTC Chair Lina Khan said the inquiry would “identify the factors that contributed to the shortage or hampered out ability to respond to it.”

The inquiry will also examine mergers and acquisitions in the infant formula market “to better understand current concentration, how it came to be, and how that should inform future merger review,” the FTC said.

The FTC will also seek public comment on whether the FTC itself or state or federal agencies may have taken steps that contributed to fragile supply chains for infant formula, it added.

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