STOCKTON — A California lawmaker from Stockton is calling for a federal investigation into last year's baby formula shortage.
Representative Josh Harder specifically wants to know if manufacturers — including Abbott Laboratories, which was at the center of the shortage — engaged in predatory practices to increase profits.
He's also calling for strong penalties for predatory behavior and an end to non-compete agreements given to a small handful of corporations that control the formula market.
Harder said even he struggled to find formula for his newborn and says formula companies aren't just guilty of inadequate protections in their factories.
"They're also potentially guilty of collusion," he told CBS13, "and corrupt dealings with state governments and stealing up to hundreds of millions from state governments instead of providing high-quality baby formula to babies that desperately need it."
The Federal Trade Commission is also currently investigating formula manufacturers for potential collusion.
"The baby formula shortage last year was a parent's worst nightmare, we literally couldn't feed our kids. And the more I've dug into it, the more I've realized how corrupt these formula manufacturers are," Harder said in a news release announcing the push for an investigation. "First, they didn't have enough formula and we bailed them out. Now, they have potentially been colluding to steal taxpayer money? I'm calling for a full congressional investigation to hold these companies accountable. Enough is enough."
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