The first shipment of infant formula from Europe should begin arriving this weekend to address a serious deficit in the United States, President Joe Biden said Friday in criticism of his administration’s handling of the matter.
Biden said on Twitter that the initial military cargo aircraft flights under “Operation Fly Formula” meant that “1.5 million bottles of safe Nestle baby formula would arrive on US shelves as soon as possible.”
The February 17 withdrawal by top child formula manufacturer Abbott Laboratories during the Food and Drug Administration’s investigation has created the most urgent food shortage in recent history for U.S. families.
Biden said this week that he was calling for defense production legislation to increase supply.
“The Secretary of Defense today ordered the first flight in support of Operation Fly Formula. Due to the urgency of the situation, these flights will include U.S. military aircraft and will leave Germany’s Ramstein Air Base this weekend, “White House Communications Director Kate Berner said on Twitter.
The flights will transport 132 pallets of Nestle Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Jr. Formula to Indianapolis, IN. These formulas are preferred because they serve an important medical purpose and have a short supply in the United States due to plant closures, “Berner wrote.
According to an analysis of ocean cargo data by Ocean Audit, a shipping consultancy for U.S. Customs Data and Reuters, aptamil maker Danone SA has increased shipments of baby formula from Europe to meet shortages in the United States. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by William Mallard)