Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency on Sunday in hopes of reining in price hikes amid baby formula shortages.
“The nationwide shortage of infant formula has caused unimaginable pain and anxiety for New York families – and we must act urgently,” Adams said in a statement.
“This emergency executive order will help us crack down on any retailer seeking to take advantage of this crisis by raising prices for this essential good.”
Emergency Executive Order 98 allows the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to prevent price increases on certain household products under 5-42 of Title 6 of New York City rules.
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the measure into law on March 15, 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when stores began raising the prices of hand sanitizer and masks.
The rule defines an “excessive price increase” as 10% or more above a product’s usual price.
“The national shortage of infant formula is hurting parents and families in our city at a time when we are all still reeling from the crisis of [the] last two years,” said Anne Williams-Isom, deputy mayor for health and human services, in the press release sent Sunday afternoon.
“This executive order will ensure that all of our agencies can use every tool in their toolbox to get infant formula to those in need and ensure that our youngest New Yorkers stay.”
Shelves remained bare in stores across the country – a crisis caused by a February recall by supplier Abbott Nutrition of branded formulas produced in Michigan and the subsequent closure of its manufacturing plant.
In the first week of May, 43% of the most popular infant formulas were out of stock, 43% of infant formulas were out of stock at retailers, according to Datasembly, a company that tracks prices and retail sales.
On Wednesday, President Biden agreed to invoke the Defense Production Act to ensure U.S. infant formula producers can get the materials they need and launched a new infant formula airlift from overseas. The first international shipment of infant formula arrived in Indiana on Sunday.
The Food and Drug Administration last week allowed Abbott to reopen its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, but the supply shortage is not expected to be resolved immediately.
New York Post