US baby milk formula airlift due to begin with flight from Europe; emergency programme
- A flight from Switzerland will arrive in Indianapolis on Sunday with132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula
- The first load means as many as 1.5 million bottles of ‘safe Nestlé infant formula’ will be coming to US shelves as soon as possible, Biden said
A first air shipment of baby milk formula will be delivered to the US on Sunday under an emergency programme authorised by President Joe Biden to address a national shortage that has parents struggling to meet the needs of their newborns.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Indianapolis to greet the arrival of 132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula, the US Department of Agriculture said in a statement.
While manufacturers say the pandemic disrupted their supply chains, an Abbott Laboratories recall of formula in February and the closing of an Abbott plant turned the shortfall into a crisis, prompting Biden on Wednesday to invoke the Defence Production Act to boost supplies.
“These formulas have been prioritised because they serve a critical medical purpose and are in short supply in the United States,” the Agriculture Department said. “Additional flights will be announced in the coming days.”
The formula shipment on US military aircraft is originating from Zurich, Switzerland, after Biden announced the Operation Fly Formula programme to bring imports in from overseas.
The first load means as many as 1.5 million bottles of “safe Nestlé infant formula” will be coming to US shelves as soon as possible, Biden said on Twitter.
The news of the flight came as the nationwide baby formula shortage sent parents into crisis mode, and social media posts containing dangerous misinformation about homemade formula recipes went viral online.
Both the US Food and Drug Administration and the American Academy of Paediatrics issued warnings stating that parents shouldn’t make their own infant formula because of the dangers associated with a lack of nutrients in them. There were also fears about the risks of contamination that could expose infants to serious bacteria, including salmonella.