ALAMEDA COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY WARNS AGAINST BABY FORMULA PRICE GOUGING

Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order prohibiting price gouging

OAKLAND, CA — Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced today that a statewide Executive Order has been issued prohibiting price gouging in the sale of infant formula.

The Executive Order, which Governor Newsom signed this week, generally limits price increases on infant formula to no more than 10% of the highest price charged by the seller as of February 17, 2022, subject to certain exceptions. Sellers who first began selling formula after February 17 are generally limited to charging no more than 50% above their wholesale costs.

The Executive Order was prompted by the nationwide shortage of baby formula, which itself was brought on by pandemic-related supply chain issues and other factors. In the wake of this shortage, families have been scrambling to find safe and affordable formula.

“Parents and childcare providers have been struggling to find formula for their babies, and sellers should not be unfairly taking advantage of this shortage,” said DA O’Malley. “Most sellers are conscientious about following the law. My office is committed to taking action against those bad actors that are looking to exploit this crisis.”

Any violation of the executive order can be prosecuted criminally, as a misdemeanor, or civilly as an unfair business practice. Violations of the Executive Order can result in jail time and up to $1,000 in criminal fines, or civil penalties of up to $2,500 per item sold or offered for sale in violation of the Order. The order is in effect until August 31, 2022.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting consumers. The office will investigate and, where necessary, prosecute individuals or businesses that have engaged in illegal price gouging. Anyone who has witnessed or been the victim of suspected price gouging in baby formula should contact the District Attorney’s Office by emailing pricegouging@acgov.org or calling (510) 383-8600.

It is important to note that the Alameda County Health Services Agency released guidance in May to help families navigate the shortage on baby formula. For more information, visit www.acphd.org/wic/

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Contact: Public Information Officer Angela Ruggiero // Angela.Ruggiero@acgov.org // (510) 919-0081

Posted on Jun 8, 2022