Santa Clara County makes price gouging on infant formula illegal | New
In response to the national infant formula shortage, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors passed an emergency ordinance to end price gouging at a meeting earlier this month.
The order extends the enforceability of the county’s excessive pricing restrictions for the duration of the emergency. The county initially proclaimed a local emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020, which banned consumer product price hikes, but only for 180 days after the county declared an emergency for the first time.
The new order will extend the anti-tariff restrictions until 30 days after the emergency ends.
“It can be very difficult to buy formula these days, and some young children need formula to survive,” supervisor Joe Simitian said in a statement Wednesday. “I know we can’t control supply chain issues, but we can send a clear message to pricing scammers – who buy formula to resell it for a higher price – that price gouging will not be not allowed.”
Price gouging is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months. Prior to the council’s June 7 decision, there were no enforcement tools to prosecute and punish price gouging on infant formula in Santa Clara County, the statement said.