- The first import of infant formula under Operation Fly Formula has just arrived in the United States.
- A military cargo plane carrying more than 70,000 pounds of formula landed in Indiana on Sunday.
- In the United States, parents have been grappling with a massive shortage of infant formula caused by supply chain issues and product recalls.
Operation Fly Formula’s first infant formula shipment has officially arrived in the United States.
A military cargo plane carrying 78,000 pounds of infant formula landed in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Sunday as part of an effort launched by the Biden administration to ease the nationwide shortage. The formula came from Switzerland and was first flown to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, where it was then flown to Indiana.
FedEx will move the formula to a nearby Nestlé distribution center for standard quality control before it is distributed to hospitals, pharmacies and doctors’ offices, an administration official on site said, according to The Associated Press.
—President Biden (@POTUS) May 22, 2022
President Biden launched Operation Fly Formula earlier this week to expedite the importation of infant formula and get the product back on store shelves amid a severe formula shortage in the United States. The shortage, caused in part by supply chain challenges and product recalls, worsened last month, prompting some families to take extreme measures.
While some more affluent parents have resorted to purchasing formula from black market forums at a significant price, others have sought out substitutes or attempted to make their own homemade formula. Doctors have strongly advised against these alternatives, noting that the formula must meet specific standards to ensure proper digestion.
The shortage has also led to hospitalizations across the country as infants struggle with malnutrition. On Saturday, local outlets reported that four babies were seeking treatment at the Medical University of South Carolina for nutritional deficiencies related to formula shortages.
Out-of-stock rates for formulas reached 40% at U.S. retailers at the end of April, up from 31% at the start of the month, according to grocery price-tracking service Datasembly.
In total, Operation Fly Formula shipments will carry the equivalent of up to 1.5 million eight-ounce bottles of three Nestlé formulas: Alfamino Infant, Alfamino Junior and Gerber Good Start Extensive HA. The products are all hypoallergenic formulas for children allergic to cow’s milk protein.
According to the White House, these formulas are prioritized because “they serve an essential medical purpose and are in short supply in the United States due to the closure of the Abbott Sturgis plant.”
Sunday’s shipment included 132 pallets of Alfano Infant and Alfano Junior, and 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA are expected to arrive in the United States in the coming days.
Along with Operation Fly Formula, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act earlier this week to increase domestic formula production.
“We are proud to be able to make a difference in the lives of children and their parents and carers who are struggling to find formula milk due to the recent shortage,” Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said in a statement. . “While more are on the way, we hope this progress will bring a little more comfort to worried parents knowing that we are committed to doing all we can to support them during this time.”