Operation Fly Formula Lands Over 70,000 Lbs. of Baby Food in U.S.

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Parents are breathing a sigh of relief hearing the news this morning that the first shipment of baby formula arrived as part of Operation Fly Formula, a USDA and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) program that uses DOD-contracted aircraft to bring back formula from overseas amid the shortage in the US.

President Joe Biden made the announcement yesterday on Twitter, saying in part that, “Our team is working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it.” Additional formula will begin arriving in stores “as early as this week,” Brian Deese, President Joe Biden’s top economic adviser in the White House, said on CNN’s State of the Union.

“Folks, I’m excited to tell you that the first flight from Operation Fly Formula is loaded up with more than 70,000 pounds of infant formula and about to land in Indiana,” Biden also said in his tweet. The first plane that landed in Indianapolis from Germany will account for “15% of the overall national volume that we need,” Deese said.

“Given their unique needs, children who lose access to it can require medical supervision until the formula is returned to the shelves,” Robert Ford, CEO of Abbott Laboratories, said in a Washington Post opinion piece over the weekend, following a recall of the company’s products in February. “I will not mince words — this is tragic and heartbreaking, and it is consuming my thoughts and those of my colleagues.”

This shipment contained Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula, according to Bloomberg. A second flight of Nestlé formula with cow’s milk protein allergy will arrive in a couple of days.

For parents who have been at their wit’s end about the lack of formula to feed their children, this news couldn’t come soon enough. The shipment will provide enough formula for 9,000 babies and 18,000 toddlers for a week, Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, said in televised remarks from the Indianapolis airport.

In addition to Operation Fly Formula, Congress last week passed a bipartisan bill called the Access to Baby Formula Act, requiring formula manufacturers to make additional supply in the event of future shortfalls and get rid of any barriers for WIC program participants related to buying formula.

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