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Attorney General Bonta Issues Consumer Alert on Nationwide Baby Formula Shortage

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a consumer alert as families across the state remain concerned about the availability of safe and affordable baby formula. With shortages of baby formula due to recalls and supply chain disruptions, the California Department of Justice is monitoring the market closely for market manipulation and violations of other state consumer protection and antitrust laws. Californians who believe they have information relating to potential violations of the law should report it at oag.ca.gov/report.

“The current shortage in baby formula is a nightmare for parents, who are confronting empty shelves and increasing costs to feed their babies,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The federal government and major manufacturers are working to increase supply, but we know that this will still take time – and families need to feed their babies now. We are keeping a close eye out for unlawful activity, including the sale of expired or recalled baby formula and price fixing or collusion among manufacturers or retailers. If you have information on potential violations of the law, please report it at oag.ca.gov/report.”

In recent months, families nationwide have confronted an ongoing shortage of baby formula caused by previous market consolidation, a manufacturer recall, suspension of production, and supply chain disruptions. Attorney General Bonta encourages families and retailers to be on the look out for unlawful activity, such as the sale of expired or recalled baby formula.

Attorney General Bonta encourages parents struggling to find baby formula to speak with their child’s doctor before attempting to water down formula or make their own, both of which can be potentially dangerous. Parents should not use recalled formula. Return recalled formula to the store or call the manufacturer of the recalled formula at 800-986-8540 for a replacement. Attorney General Bonta encourages anyone with extra unopened, unexpired formula to consider donating it to their local food pantry. 

Parents struggling to find baby formula should visit healthychildren.org. More information and resources can also be found in the California Department of Public Health's Consumer Alert and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Fact Sheet on the baby formula shortage. Families using benefits through the California Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program can find more information on the California WIC Infant Formula Availability webpage. Before buying baby formula from any unfamiliar source, research the company's reputation through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) at www.bbb.org. For more information about potential scams related to the baby formula shortage, visit the BBB website here

Attorney General Bonta is committed to protecting California families struggling with rising prices through enforcement of state consumer protection and antitrust laws. In March, Attorney General Bonta sent a letter to the CEOs of refineries operating in California warning them against illegal market manipulation and other violations of state antitrust laws. The Attorney General is also involved in ongoing litigation against multinational gas trading firms SK Energy Americas and Vitol for allegedly manipulating California’s gas prices and costing consumers more at the pump.