May 23, 2022 -- A U.S. military plane carrying 78,000 pounds of specialty baby formula left a U.S. air base in Germany and landed in Indianapolis on Sunday as part of the Biden administration’s Operation Fly Formula, the White House said.
This was the first formula shipment from abroad intended to alleviate the national shortage. The formula serves a specific medical purpose and has been in short supply since the Abbott formula factory shut down in Sturgis, MI., White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
“This formula was manufactured in an FDA-approved facility and will be inspected on arrival like all food imports,” she said. “Due to the urgency of the situation, the Secretary of Defense approved U.S. military aircraft for this mission on Friday evening. Typically, the process to transport this product from Europe to the U.S. would take two weeks. Thanks to Operation Fly Formula, we cut that down to approximately three days.”
She didn’t know when the formula would reach U.S. consumers.
The formula will be taken to a nearby Nestlé distribution hub for inspection, then distributed to hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor's offices, an administration official said, according to CBS News.
A flight carrying 132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula as well as 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula will be flown from the U.S. base in Germany to Washington Dulles International Airport in coming days, the White House announced Sunday.
Last week, the White House created Operation Fly Formula, which will allow the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to use Department of Defense commercial aircraft to import formula that meets U.S. safety standards.
President Biden also invoked the Defense Production Act to require suppliers to direct resources to makers of baby formula before other customers.