I thought I had known the major government contributors to the baby formula crisis. But the following 3 paragraphs tell some things that are new to me:

Regulation is a major reason only four large formula producers control most of the U.S. market. First, parents receiving WIC assistance are allowed to choose only certain brands. Second, consumers must pay a 17.5 percent tariff on any imported formula, which prices countless brands out of the U.S. market. It’s a nice arrangement for the companies — and for their lobbyists — but it raises prices for families and makes it difficult to boost supplies during shortages.

When new formulas enter the market, regulations forbid sellers from letting anyone know about them for 90 days, even as manufacturers may advertise existing formulas all they like. Those first months on the shelf are make-or-break for many new products, which is why existing producers like this otherwise pointless regulation. At times like this, parents might appreciate hearing about new options.

One of those options is toddler formula, which in many cases meets the Food and Drug Administration’s nutritional requirements for infant formula. However, FDA regulations prohibit many manufacturers from recommending this option.

This is from Ryan Young, “Cronyism Makes the Baby Formula Shortage Worse,” AIER, May 24, 2022.

The 90-day restriction is outrageous.

Read the whole thing.

HT2 Donald Boudreaux.