Beshear signs executive order to activate price-gouging laws for baby formula, which remains in short supply
|Beshear signs executive order (Photo via Facebook)|
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Thursday declaring a state of emergency in order to apply state price-gouging laws for baby formula.
“By implementing our price-gouging laws, we can make sure that families are not being charged more than they should to obtain a critical supply of formula to feed their baby,” Beshear said at his weekly news conference.
“As parents, Makenze and I recognize the incredible stress and fear that the shortage is causing Kentucky families, and our office will use the full force of the law to ensure that the price charged for essential products like baby formula is no more than the law allows,” Cameron said in a news release.
“The infant formula shortage has caused worry and frustration for Kentucky’s families as they have sought to provide nutrition to our most precious citizens,” Stack said in a news release. “We encourage families to reach out to all available resources in their community, including local health departments, pediatricians, food pantries, community action councils and other supporting agencies to meet the nutritional needs of their infants and to ensure they thrive. We also encourage all eligible families to enroll in WIC or SNAP to help during this shortage.”
Women, Infants and Children nutrition benefits are available to Kentucky residents who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a child 5 or younger and have household income of no more than 185% of the federal poverty level, with rules governing what counts as income. Anyone who receives Medicaid or is part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) automatically meets income requirements for WIC. Click here for a WIC pre-screening Tool to see if you are eligible.
Cameron warned families to guard against baby formula scams and encouraged Kentuckians to only purchase baby formula from known, reputable sources; to use a credit card to make the purchase if possible; to avoid paying for formula up front if purchasing from an unknown source; and to be suspicious of sources advertising formula at prices that are too good to be true. Any suspected scams can be reported to ag.ky.gov/scams.
But that doesn’t mean an immediate end to the shortage. Abbott says its priority is production of EleCare, a special formula for children with multiple allergies, before it ramps up production of its other products. The initial EleCare product is expected to be released “on or about June 20,” Abbott’s release said.