Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, left, speaks after an Air Force C-17 delivered a plane load of baby formula at the Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, Sunday, May 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
UPDATED 1:40 PM PT – Monday, May 23, 2022
The first shipment of Nestle baby formula from Europe arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday morning. The flight contained 78-thousand pounds of formula. This flight is just one of many from “operation fly formula.”
President Joe Biden authorized the use of Air Force planes because no commercial flights were available. The military planes carried enough specialty infant formula for more than half a million baby bottles. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Indianapolis to greet the arrival of the first shipment.
“The flights are intended to provide some incremental relief in the coming days as the government works on a more lasting response to the shortage,” said Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council.
Nestle said that over the past few months it has worked “around the clock” to address the formula shortage and help meet demand, they are doing everything they can to get parents and caregivers the formula they need so their children can thrive.
“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,” the company stated in a release. “As well as through hospitals and home health care for those most vulnerable.”
132 pallets of Nestle Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula was to leave Ramstein Air Base in Germany for the U.S. Another 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula are expected to arrive in the coming days. Deese noted operations at Abbot Nutrition may not pick back up for a month, but they’re not going to wait. The military flights will provide incremental relief in the coming days.
According to the White House, formula from this shipment will be distributed to pharmacies and doctors.
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