WASHINGTON The Federal Trade Commission has subpoenaed records of all leading manufacturers of infant formula, suspecting that they collaborated to raise prices.
"This is a top-priority, front-burner investigation," said Kevin J. Arquit, director of the commission's Bureau of Competition.
Infant formula is a key ingredient of the food packages given to low-income families under the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC. The program, acclaimed as one of the nation's more effective welfare programs, accounts for one-third of all sales of infant formula in the United States.
"State WIC programs are on a fixed budget," Arquit said in an interview last week. "We have not yet concluded that a violation of the law occurred."