Mayor Adams declares state of emergency in NYC over baby formula shortage

Toni Yates Image
Monday, May 23, 2022
Mayor declares state of emergency in NYC over baby formula shortage
Toni Yates has more on the baby formula shortage's impact in New York City.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is under a state of emergency as the formula shortage in the nation has parents struggling to find ways to feed their babies.

A military plane carrying enough specialty infant formula for more than half a million baby bottles arrived Sunday in Indianapolis, the first of several flights expected from Europe aimed at relieving a shortage that has sent parents scrambling to find enough to feed their children.

The shortage is being caused by the voluntary recall and temporary closure of a facility by Abbott Nutrition, one of the largest formula providers in the country. Production has since resumed at the plant, but it is expected to take weeks before that supply hits the market.

Mayor Eric Adams signed the executive order on Sunday to prevent price gouging for formula in the city.

"The nationwide infant formula shortage has caused unimaginable pain and anxiety for families across New York - and we must act with urgency," Mayor Adams said in a statement. "This emergency executive order will help us to crack down on any retailer looking to capitalize on this crisis by jacking up prices on this essential good. Our message to struggling mothers and families is simple: Our city will do everything in its power to assist you during this challenging period."

Nationwide, over 40% of large retailers are out of stock of formula, including 43% of retailers in the tristate area, according to the most recent data estimates.

"The nationwide infant formula shortage is hurting parents and families across our city at a time when we're all still reeling from the crisis of past two years," Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services Anne Williams-Isom said. "This executive order will ensure all of our agencies can use every tool in their toolkit to get infant formula to those who need it and make sure our youngest New Yorkers stay."

Earlier this week, U.S. President Joseph Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to direct suppliers of formula ingredients to prioritize delivery to the manufacturers of formula.

President Biden also announced the creation of Operation Fly Formula, which directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to import formula from abroad, provided it meets U.S. health and safety standards.

New Yorkers who are overcharged for formula can file a complaint with DCWP online at or by calling 311 and saying "overcharge."

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