“I’ve got an update on Operation Fly Formula: We’re flying in the first shipment over the weekend, President Joe Biden said Friday. “That means up to 1.5 million bottles of safe Nestlé infant formula will be coming to U.S. shelves as soon as possible.”
According to the White House, the 8-oz. bottles of formula will be flown from Zurich, Switzerland to Plainfield, Ind., to address the ongoing U.S.
baby formula shortage. As of Thursday, the Department of Defense was searching for a commercial aircraft to complete the journey.
Alfamino Infant, Alfamino Junior, and Gerber Good Start Extensive HA – three hypoallergenic formulas for children who are allergic to cow’s milk proteins – are expected to be part of the shipment.
“These formulas have been prioritized because they serve a critical medical purpose and are in short supply in the United States because of the Abbott Sturgis plant closure,” said the White House. “These shipments will include approximately 246 pallets.”
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of powdered infant formula produced by Abbott Nutrition’s plant in Sturgis, Mich., including certain Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products. Abbott’s plant is the largest producer of baby formula in the country.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating consumer complaints of bacterial infections in four infants who consumed powdered infant formula,” produced at the plant, said a press release from the administration. “All four infants had to be hospitalized and the bacterial infection may have contributed to death in two patients.”
In response to the shortage caused by the recall, Biden launched Operation Fly Formula this week “to speed up the import of infant formula and start getting more formula to stores as soon as possible.”
Operation Fly Formula is one part a multi-prong response from the federal government in response to the recall and shortage. Other actions include invoking the Defense Production Act and the passing the Access to Baby Formula Act of 2022, which Congress voted for and Biden signed into law this week.