Baby Formula Arrives to the U.S.

U.S. Soldiers Load Pallets of Baby Formula at Ramstein American Air Force Base in Germany | Thomas Lohnes, Getty Images

Over 75,000 pounds of baby formula arrived in the U.S. Sunday as part of Operation Fly Formula. According to ABC News, the formula arrived via military plane from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

Lawmakers and President Biden created the initiative to ease the national baby formula shortage. ABC News says this first delivery carries enough formula for half a million 8-ounce bottles.

Sunday’s shipment came from an FDA-approved European facility that produces medical-grade baby formula. Pallets contained hypoallergenic products from Nestle that are safe for babies with dairy allergies.

Upon arrival, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the media that the formula would “take care of 9,000 babies and 18,000 toddlers for a week.”

Vilsack also tweeted that the shipments “will improve the supply of critical formula for babies and toddlers with medical needs.”

Nestlé said in a release it has partnered with Operation Fly Formula to ramp up productions in their European facilities. The company plans to quickly import these products to the U.S. to address the shortage soon.

The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition issued an Infant Formula Enforcement Discretion Policy on May 18. This guidance policy gives certain companies, such as Nestlé, more flexibility with importing infant formulas.

As a result, the formula was imported in three days rather than the typical two-week time period.

President Biden tweeted that a second shipment is already approved and that it would be here in the coming days. ABC News reported that the shipment would arrive in Washington D.C. this week via FedEx.

The national shortage has been an issue since the pandemic but was made worse by the recent closure of an Abbott Laboratories production facility in Sturgis, Michigan. Abbott Laboratories’ brands account for close to half the infant formulas on the U.S. market.

Abbott Laboratories reached an agreement with the FDA to reopen the facility. According to CEO Robert Ford, the company plans to open the facility by the first week of June.

Once open, Ford said, it should take six to eight weeks for the formula to appear in stores. The company plans to double production capacity once reopened.

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