As the White House works to alleviate the country’s severe shortage of baby formula, the first cargo of infant formula to arrive from outside the country reached the United States.
On Sunday, the inaugural flight of “Operation Fly Formula” successfully landed in Indiana. The trip was part of a plan by the Department of Defense to use commercial air cargo to get baby formula to people who need it.
15% of the Demand
Per WRTV, the 78,000 pounds of granular infant formula are the same as up to 1.5 million eight-ounce bottles of three specific formulas.
These formulas include Alfamino Junior, Alfamino Infant, and Gerber Good Start Extensive HA. In the next few days, it is anticipated that additional flight options will be offered.
Brian Deese, who is in charge of the National Economic Council, said on Sunday the flight has enough formula to meet 15% of the demand for formula in the whole country.
The aircraft made a deliberate landing in Indianapolis. This was designed to make use of the supply chain operations of Nestle to distribute the items throughout the states.
The first Operation Fly Formula has landed at Indianapolis airport, a C-17 carrying hypoallergenic formula for babies and kids with cows milk allergies pic.twitter.com/eHEuafKrmC
— Jo Ling Kent (@jolingkent) May 22, 2022
According to a statement released by the White House, “the Department of Defense will use its agreements with commercial air cargo lines to transport goods from production facilities overseas that fulfilled Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety standards.”
This is similar to what the Department of Defense did during the initial months of the COVID pandemic when it moved materials.
If traditional air freighting routes aren’t used, it will be faster to bring formula into the country and get it to where it needs to go. This will give producers a quick boost as they continue to increase production.
Folks, I’m excited to tell you that the first flight from Operation Fly Formula is loaded up with more than 70,000 pounds of infant formula and about to land in Indiana.
Our team is working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it. pic.twitter.com/cX4KU0eDtZ
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 22, 2022
Additionally, on Wednesday, the administration said it would be using the Defense Production Act to require businesses supplying vital components to formula producers to prioritize providing service to the government above other clients.
According to the White House, “directing companies to optimize and assign the manufacturing of key baby formula inputs will help boost output and speed up supply chains.”
The FDA Efforts
The new steps were the most recent in a series of efforts taken by Washington to resupply store shelves. This was after the FDA forced a large formula facility to close earlier this year, which resulted in a scarcity of the product.
Cronobacter sakazakii infections were diagnosed in four infants after they consumed formula that originated from an Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan. Two of those children already passed away.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to parents in February, advising them to avoid certain infant formulas manufactured at the plant where bacterium had been discovered.
After that, Abbott, the company with the greatest market share of infant formula in the United States, issued a recall for some of its products; the Michigan facility has been silent ever since.
The shortage of infant formula across the country has been made worse in recent weeks as a result of the factory shutdown, along with the existing problems in the supply chain that are tied to the epidemic.
According to the most current data from analytics firm Datasembly, the percentage of baby formula stores in the United States that are out of stock reached 43 percent at the beginning of May, after skyrocketing in April.