Air Force C-17 Delivers 78,000 Pounds Of Baby Formula Amid Shortage
INDIANAPOLIS - An Air Force C-17 plane delivered 78,000 pounds of baby formula to the Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis on Sunday, May 22nd 2022 amidst a recent shortage.
The amount of baby formula that was delivered is enough to fill over 500,000 baby bottles and is one of multiple flights from Europe in order to provide at least some relief during the shortage.
U.S. President Joe Biden authorized the use of the C-17 Air Force planes for what was named "Operation Fly Formula" as commercial flights have been unavailable for use to transport the formula.
The formula shortage follows the closure of Abbott Nutrition in February, a Michigan manufacturing plant, and one of the largest in the nation which was closed due to safety concerns resulting from findings by federal safety inspectors.
There had been several hospitalizations of infants, and two deaths due to rare bacterial infections linked to the company which has been blamed for not keeping clean surfaces that were used in the production and handling of the powdered formula, according to the FDA.
Inspectors also concluded that there had been a history of bacterial contamination linked to the company, which included 8 incidences of cronobacter between 2019 and February of this year.
The White House announced that 132 pallets of Nestle Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamina Junior formula would be leaving the Ramstein Air Base in Germany to the United States.
114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula will also be arriving to the United States this week, with a total of about 1.5 million 8-ounce hypoallergenic bottles specifically for children allergic to cow's milk.
Nestle said that they have been working "around the clock" in the last few months in order to address the shortage and put out a statement saying, "We have significantly increased the amount of our formulas available to consumers by ramping up production and accelerating general product availability to retailers and online, as well as through hospitals and home health care for those most vulnerable".
"At Nestle we are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to get parents and caregivers the formula they need so their children can thrive. We prioritized these products because they serve a critical medical purpose as they are for children with cow’s milk protein allergies" the statement continued.
Abbott Nutrition, along with U.S. regulators are hoping to reopen its Michigan plant next week, though it will be a few months before they will be able to get their product ready to deliver in order to meet consumer demands for the formula.
The shortage has both emptied some store shelves, and caused retailers to have to resort to rationing their supplies of baby formula.