The first flights of infant formula from Europe, approved by President Joe Biden to address a growing U.S. shortage, will arrive in Indiana aboard military aircraft this weekend, the White House announced Friday.
The White House says 132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior infant formula will leave Ramstein Air Base in Germany and arrive in the United States this weekend. A further 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula are expected to arrive in the coming days. In total, about 1.5 million 8-ounce bottles of the three formulas that are hypoallergenic for children with cow’s milk protein allergy will arrive this week.
While Biden initially requested the Pentagon to use commercially chartered aircraft to move the formula from Europe to the United States, the White House said no commercial flights were available this weekend. Instead, US Air Force aircraft will carry the first batch of formula.
The Biden administration has called the effort “Operation Fly Formula” as it struggles to address nationwide shortages of formula, particularly hypoallergenic varieties, following the closure of the country’s largest domestic production facility in February due to safety concerns.
U.S. regulators and manufacturer Abbott are hoping to have the Michigan factory reopened next week, but it will take about two months before the product is ready for delivery. The Food and Drug Administration this week eased import requirements for baby substitutes to try to ease the supply pressure, which has left store shelves devoid of some brands and some retailers rationing supply to parents who are nervous about feeding their children.
“I would much rather you go to the emergency room to receive breast milk substitute, and then even try to change the recipe for your breast milk substitute,” says pediatrician Dr. Rebekah Diamond. She joined LX News to expose misleading breast milk substitute “hacks” that have spread on social media and explain why breastfeeding can not solve the current shortage of breast milk substitute.