WBUR: The corporate monopolies behind the national baby formula shortage

May 19, 2022 Interview, Media

The national baby formula shortage.

“There are parents across the country who are driving from pharmacy to supermarket to chain store just to try to find food that they need to feed their infants,” Amanda Starbuck says.

The reason? Corporate monopolies, poor quality control and federal regulation.

And half of all the formula sold in the U.S. gets to families through the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

“But the way [the] WIC lays out the actual contracting, the USDA gives the money to each state, and then each state chooses one of these manufacturers, and gives them the contract for the whole state,” Matt Stoller, director of research at the American Economic Liberties Project, says.

“It means that every retailer in the state is basically going to carry only that brand. Because half of your customers [aren’t] … able to look at any other manufacturers’ items.”