Watchdog files suit against FTC for blocking records on baby formula shortage investigation

The agency has launched multiple investigations into “top-level” crises facing the country

October 31, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) announced transparency litigation against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for blocking records surrounding the FTC’s investigation into the baby formula shortage crisis.

In May 2022, the nation began to experience a shortage of baby formula after a major producer was shut down in February by the FDA for health violations as some of the formula from that facility had been contaminated with bacteria. However, it was soon revealed that a whistleblower tried to warn the FDA as early as October 2021 about the conditions and what could happen if they did not act. Unfortunately, the FDA had a series of missteps in response. Most notably, the whistleblower’s report was lost in the FDA’s mailroom for four months.

Instead of digging deep into what caused the crisis and what could have been done differently to stop it, the administration directed the FTC to investigate baby formula manufacturers. Between industry consolidation and price gouging, administration officials appeared intent on shifting all responsibility to the private sector. This is not the first time the administration has turned to the FTC to avoid accountability for an emerging crisis, as the public has witnessed domestic energy producers and the meat industry pegged for unstoppable inflation. FGI has an ongoing case against the FTC for withholding records pertaining to its oil and gas investigation.

Americans deserve to know what this FTC investigation into the baby formula producers is accomplishing, if anything, that can help alleviate the crisis and provide information that could stop it from happening again. Due to the urgency of the ongoing baby formula shortages, FGI has filed suit to force the FTC to release the information.

Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:

“Launching FTC investigations has been a favored tactic of this administration in the face of multiple crises. Instead of changing policy or personnel, the FTC has been called in to refocus criticism on the private sector. Americans deserve to know what this investigation is doing to get baby formula back on the shelves and how it can help prevent future shortages.”