Baby formula shortage: 78,000 pounds of baby formula arrive in the US from Europe in Operation Fly Formula

INDIANAPOLIS — Enough special infant formula for more than half a million baby bottles arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday.

The formula, weighing 78,000 pounds (35,380 kilograms), was transported by military aircraft, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One as President Joe Biden flew from South Korea to Japan.

It is the first of several infant formula flights from Europe expected this weekend to ease the worsening shortage in the US. The flights were approved by Biden.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was in Indianapolis to welcome the arrival of the first Indianapolis shipment.

The Biden administration — which has been struggling to address a nationwide shortage of formulas, particularly hypoallergenic strains — has dubbed the effort “Operation Fly Formula.” The crisis follows the closure of the nation’s largest domestic manufacturing facility in Michigan in February due to safety concerns.

The White House said 132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior Formula were to leave Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany bound for the United States. A further 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula should arrive in the coming days. In all, about 1.5 million 8-ounce bottles of the three formulas, which are hypoallergenic for children with cow’s milk protein allergy, are expected to arrive this week.

Indianapolis was chosen because it is a Nestle distribution center. The formula is loaded into FedEx tractor-trailers and taken to a Nestle distribution center about a mile away, where the company performs standard quality control before distributing supplies to hospitals, pharmacies and doctor’s offices, according to a local administration official.

Air Force planes are transporting the first batch of the formula as no commercial flights were available that weekend.

The flight was the first of several that brought “some relief in the coming days” as the administration works to develop a more sustained response to the shortage, Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, said Sunday.

Reese told CNN’s State of the Union that Sunday’s flight brought 15% of the specialty medical formulas needed in the US, and due to various government actions, people should “see more formulas in stores starting this week.” “

In the longer term, he said, the US needs more formula suppliers “so that no single company has as much control over supply chains.”

As part of “Operation Fly Formula,” the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services have the authority to request Department of Defense assistance to retrieve overseas infant formula that meets U.S. health and safety standards so it gets to shelves faster. according to USDA.

Alfaamino is primarily available through hospitals and home health care companies that serve patients at home.

US regulators and manufacturer Abbott Nutrition are hoping its Michigan plant will reopen next week, but it will be about two months before the product is ready to ship. The Food and Drug Administration eased import requirements for baby formula this week to ease supply shortages that have left some brands’ shelves empty and some retailers rationed supplies for parents worried about feeding their children .

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Baby formula shortage: 78,000 pounds of baby formula arrive in the US from Europe in Operation Fly Formula

Dais Johnston

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