President Joe Biden authorised the use of Air Force planes for the effort, dubbed Operation Fly Formula, because no commercial flights were available….reports Asian Lite News
A military plane carrying enough specialty infant formula for more than half a million baby bottles arrived in Indianapolis, media reported.
This was the first of several flights expected from Europe aimed at relieving a shortage in the infant formula in the wake of growing safety concerns over quality of infant foods following death of two babies and subsequent shortage caused by supply chain bottlenecks.
President Joe Biden authorised the use of Air Force planes for the effort, dubbed Operation Fly Formula, because no commercial flights were available.
The formula weighed 78,000 pounds (35,380 kilograms), White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One as Biden flew from South Korea to Japan, it was reported.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Indianapolis to greet the arrival of the first shipment.
The White House has said 132 pallets of Nestle Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula was to leave Ramstein Air Base in Germany for the US.
Another 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula were expected to arrive in the coming days. Altogether, about 1.5 million 8-ounce bottles of the three formulas, which are hypoallergenic for children with cow’s milk protein allergies, are expected to arrive this week.
Indianapolis was chosen because it is a Nestle distribution hub.
This emergency action was invoked after a major plant baby formula maker Abbott nutrition came under the scanner this year after the regulatory authorities began probing four bacterial infections among infants who consumed powdered formula from the plant.
The act, which was last invoked during Covid, requires suppliers of formula manufacturers to fulfil orders from those companies before other customers, to eliminate production dips. Through this wartime act, Biden has authorized flights to import supplies from overseas, using Operation Fly Formula.
After the death of two babies, the company was forced to halt production in February and recalled several brands of powdered formula, squeezing supplies that had already been tightened by supply chain disruptions during COVID-19.
After the death of two babies, Abbot was forced to halt production in February and recalled several brands of powdered formula, squeezing supplies that had already been tightened by supply chain disruptions during COVID-19.
Earlier this week, FDA and Abbott agreed on the next steps to reopen Abbott’s facility in Sturgis, Michigan, which was closed due to concerns about bacterial contamination after four infants fell ill.
FDA also announced guidance that will allow major formula manufacturers to safely import formula that is not currently being produced for the US market.