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Amid baby formula shortage, Beshear signs order to prevent price gouging

Infant drinks milk from a bottle.
Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky is taking action to help protect parents from high prices amid an ongoing national baby formula shortage

During the weekly Team Kentucky update Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency related to the shortage. 

He said it’s meant to prevent sellers from taking advantage of the high demand and raising prices for parents already struggling to find food to feed their children. 

“We can’t wait for somebody to increase the price double or triple,” he said. “We’ve got to enter this order right now so people know that if they try to take advantage of moms and dads who are rightfully frightened – I’ve been there. I’ve been a parent that has relied on this product – that we have the safeguards already in place.”

Beshear said he’s not aware of reports of price gouging yet in the state, but has seen it in other areas. Complaints of potential price gouging can be reported to the Kentucky attorney general’s office at this website, or by calling the new hotline 502-696-5485.

“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,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a news release. 

Cameron advised parents to buy formula from known, reputable sources, use a credit card if possible and try to avoid paying for it up front if purchasing from an unknown source. He also warned them to beware prices that seem too good to be true.

The current shortage stems from a Michigan manufacturer issuing a voluntary recall and temporarily ceasing production in February. 

Abbott Nutrition restarted production last week, initially with a specialty formula for babies with certain health conditions.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.