CHANTILLY, Virginia (AP) – Jill Biden and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy welcomed Wednesday’s delivery of a second shipment of tens of thousands of pounds of formula that the Biden administration is importing from Europe to ease critical supply shortages in the United States.
The first lady and the nation’s doctor have each sought to sympathize with the nation’s anxious parents who have struggled to find enough formula for their children.
Both said President Joe Biden and his team understood what parents were going through and were working hard to resolve the latest domestic crisis to challenge the administration. Biden has come under mounting political pressure not to move faster to try to head off the supply crisis.
“As a mom and Nana, it’s impossible to hear stories of children in pain and not imagine your own children in the same position,” the first lady said, using her grandchildren’s nickname. for her. “Food is the first and most important way we feed our children.”
Murthy, a father of two young children, said he knew “how important it is for parents to have confidence in their ability to feed their child safely. And I know how frustrating and scary when that security seems out of reach.”
“That’s why we won’t rest until every parent has the formula they need for their child,” he promised.
A shipment of baby formula is unloaded from a plane at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. (Pool Image)
Biden and Murthy spoke on the tarmac at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in front of a FedEx Express plane that had just delivered 120,000 pounds (54,431. kilograms), or 60 tons, of baby formula from Air Force Base in Ramstein in Germany as part of the administration’s Operation Fly. Formula program.
With Wednesday’s delivery and a shipment of 78,000 pounds (35,380 kilograms) of specialty infant formula that was flown by military aircraft to Indianapolis over the weekend, “we have now brought in the equivalent of 1, 5 million eight-ounce bottles of infant formula in the United States. “, said Murthy.
Further deliveries are expected soon. The administration cut the delivery time to three days from four weeks, he said.
Jill Biden said her husband knew there was “more to be done” to address formula shortages.
“I am here today to tell parents, ‘you are not alone,'” she said. “At the highest levels of Joe’s administration, he and his team understand what you’re going through and they’re finding solutions. And they won’t stop until every parent gets the formula that all of their kids have. need.”
Under Operation Fly Formula, infant formula that meets US health and safety standards is imported from overseas manufacturers and delivered to hospitals and retailers in the United States.
The first shipment arrived on Sunday, bringing 132 palettes of Nestle Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamin Junior formulas to Indianapolis — enough for 500,000 eight-ounce bottles.
The 114 pallets of Nestlé’s Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula delivered Wednesday will be transported by FedEx to a Nestlé distribution facility near Allentown, Pennsylvania, the White House said.
The three formulas are intended for children allergic to cow’s milk proteins.
The infant formula shortage stems primarily from Abbott Nutrition’s plant in Sturgis, Michigan, which the Food and Drug Administration shut down in February due to contamination concerns. Abbott, one of the few companies that controls the vast majority of the infant formula market, then announced a mass recall of its product on Feb. 17, leading to a nationwide supply shortage.
Abbott and the FDA recently reached an agreement to reopen the plant next week. But it will take about two months before the product is ready for delivery.