We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Alamy Stock Photo

Rebecca Moynihan The exorbitant cost of baby formula should not be tolerated

The Labour senator is critical of the rising costs of baby and infant formula and is calling for government to intervene.

SOARING BABY FORMULA prices must be tackled. In recent times, the astronomical surge in the price of baby food has become an alarming concern for families across Ireland.

The very essence of nurturing the next generation is at risk as parents grapple with the burden of soaring prices, particularly when it comes to the essential commodity of infant formula. It is high time for our government to step in and address this issue, ensuring that the well-being of children in this country is not compromised due to financial constraints.

The government possesses a powerful tool in the form of Sections 61 and 62 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007. This is a statutory mechanism whereby the government can set a maximum price for a product.

By leveraging these provisions, we can establish price caps on baby formula, shielding new parents and their infants from unjustified price hikes. This proactive approach is crucial to maintaining accessibility to this vital resource for families across economic spectrums.

Not a luxury product

Furthermore, the disparity in how general supermarket vouchers, like those from Dunnes, are applied to infant formula needs urgent reconsideration. Treating baby formula differently than other essential goods, and putting them in the same category as alcohol and cigarettes, only serves to perpetuate stigmas and exacerbate the financial strain on families.

Ireland produces around 13% of the global supply of infant formula. We should use our leverage with Irish producers of infant formula to make a low-cost generic formula available. Despite claims made, infant formula is tightly controlled and all essentially have the same composition. Low cost or free generic formula should be the norm for parents who choose to use formula or combination feed.

This is an issue playing out in other jurisdictions. The United Kingdom is already taking steps to address similar concerns. Their competition regulator is actively probing the baby formula market to prevent monopolisation and ensure fair pricing.

Ireland must not lag behind; we cannot afford to let our market be dominated, restricting choices and leading to exorbitant prices for an indispensable product.

In light of these pressing issues, I recently wrote a letter to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, urging them to launch an immediate investigation into the rising prices of baby formula. This investigation is not just about identifying the problem; it’s about proactively preventing the exploitation of a captured market and ensuring that affordable, generic options are readily available for all families.

We need to get to the point where we live in a country that genuinely supports its citizens, particularly those in the tender stages of parenthood. The costs of essential baby products should never be prohibitive, and every child deserves access to the nourishment they need for a healthy start in life. 

Rebecca Moynihan is a Labour senator. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel