Breaking News
More () »

DC Council passes bill banning infant formula price gouging

The “Infant Formula Consumer Protection Emergency Act” would be in effect for 90 days.

WASHINGTON — The D.C. Council has unanimously passed a bill banning prince gouging on baby formula price gouging during an ongoing shortage nationwide.

The "Infant Formula Consumer Protection Act," introduced by Councilmember Brianne K Nadeau, now goes to Mayor Muriel Bowser's desk for her signature. It would be in effect for 90 days. The Council will hold a second vote on a temporary measure that would be in effect for 225 days at its next legislative meeting.

“No family should have to worry about whether they can feed their children. Councilmember Nadeau’s crucial legislation will help ensure families across the District can get the formula they need for their babies at a reasonable price,” said Attorney General Karl Racine in a press release. “The Office of the Attorney General has stood up to businesses who took advantage of District residents during the pandemic, and with this legislation, we will do so again.”

The exact legal definition of price gouging varies from state to state. The general idea is that when a merchant sells a good for a higher price, when demand is high, typically during an emergency.

Recent formula shortages, exacerbated by multiple recalls, have taken a toll on families across the country, with many parents spending hours a day looking for formula. The formula that’s left in stores is substantially more expensive than it was a few months ago. And when formula products are in stock online, they are often marked up by 200% or 300% or more.  Products that are priced normally are backed up several weeks, and even people who pay for special delivery services are finding formula out of stock online.  

RELATED: 8 things parents need to know about the baby formula shortage and what to do if their brand is out of stock

In response, on May 12, 2022, President Biden called on state attorneys general to “crack down on any price gouging or unfair market practices related to sales of infant formula.”  

RELATED: Biden says he wasn't informed early on of baby formula woes

“Infant formula should never be diluted. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the can to prepare formula. Additionally, parents and caregivers should not make or feed homemade infant formula to infants,” DC Health officials said.

RELATED: Why switching from formula to breastmilk is easier said than done

RELATED: No, homemade baby formula is not safe for babies

If you believe that a merchant has engaged in a prohibited trade practice, including impermissible price gouging, please contact the Office of the Attorney General at (202) 442-9828 or consumer.protection@dc.gov.


WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the WUSA9 app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.
Sign up for the Capitol Breach email newsletter, delivering the latest breaking news and a roundup of the investigation into the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021.

Before You Leave, Check This Out