78,000 pounds of infant formula arrive in the US | health

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – A military aircraft carrying more than half a million baby bottles arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday, the first of several expected flights from Europe, to alleviate the shortage of enough to feed its parents. kids.

President Joe Biden authorized the use of Air Force aircraft for an effort called “Operation Ely Formula” because it was not available for commercial flights.

The formula weighed 78,000 pounds (35,380 kilograms), White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard the Air Force One while Biden flew from South Korea to Japan.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was in Indianapolis to greet the arrival of the first shipment.

The flights are intended to provide “some relief in the coming days” as the government is working on a more sustainable response to the shortage, White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said on Sunday.

Deese told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Sunday’s flight brought 15 percent of the required medical specialty formula to the U.S., and that the government’s actions should “see more formulas in stores starting this week.” ”

In the longer term, he said the US needs more formula suppliers, “so that an individual company does not have so much control over supply chains.”

Later Sunday, the White House announced the first two permits under the Children’s Formula Defense Production Act, both from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Manufacturer Abbott Nutrition can now receive raw material orders for sugar and corn syrup for children’s formula, and the White House said the manufacturer will be able to rapidly increase production by a third. Reckitt, the owner of Mead-Johnson, can now receive priority consumer orders, such as filters and other single-use products to create some of the oils needed to produce children’s formula, the White House said Reckitt’s facility will operate at full capacity.

The Biden administration has made every effort to address the shortage of formulas nationwide, especially hypoallergenic varieties. The nation’s largest manufacturing plant closed in Michigan in February due to security concerns.

The White House has said 132 pallets of Nestle Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula will leave German Ramstein Air Base and another 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA will arrive in the US in the coming days. In total, about 1.5 million 8-ounce bottles of three formulas that are hypoallergenic for children with cow’s milk protein will arrive this week.

Indianapolis was chosen because it is a Nestle distribution site. The formula will be downloaded to FedEx semi-trailer trailers and transported to a Nestle distribution center within a mile where the company will perform standard quality control before distributing supplies to hospitals, pharmacies and medical offices, according to a local government official. .

On Sunday, the White House said a FedEx Express flight from the Pentagon would take a flight of the Ramstein Air Base Nestlé SA formula to a Nestle facility.

Nestle said it has been working “clockwise” in recent months to address formula shortages and help meet demand.

“We have significantly increased the number of our formulas available to consumers by increasing production and accelerating overall product availability for retailers and online, as well as through hospital and home health care for the most vulnerable,” the company said in a statement.

“At Nestle, we are fully committed to doing everything we can to provide parents and caregivers with the formula they need to keep their children moving forward,” she added. “We have given priority to these products because they have a critical medical purpose, especially for children who are allergic to cow’s milk protein.”

Under the “Operation Fly Formula” section, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services authorize the Department of Defense to request assistance with a foreign child formula that complies with U.S. health and safety regulations so that shelves can be stored more quickly. According to the USDA.

Alfamino is primarily available through home health care companies that provide care to hospitals and patients at home.

U.S. regulators and Abbott Nutrition expect to reopen the Michigan plant next week, but it will take about two months for the product to be ready for delivery. The Food and Drug Administration has eased import requirements for baby formula this week to try to ease supply cuts, which has left store shelves in the void of some brands and some retailers are facilitating parental supplies to feed their children nervously.

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