First US army jet carrying child meals from Europe to reach on Sunday

A US military plane will deliver the first batch of baby formula from Europe to Indianapolis on Sunday as part of Operation Fly Formula as the Biden administration accelerates efforts to alleviate a domestic shortage.

The White House announced Saturday that a US Air Force cargo plane will transport 132 pallets of Nestle food Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior from Ramstein Air Base in Germany to Indianapolis Airport. From there, the shipment is trucked to a Nestle Health Science facility in Plainfield, Indiana.

Government officials had insisted since the start of the emergency airlift on Wednesday that commercial cargo airlines, chosen by the Defense Department under existing contractual arrangements, would transport the baby formula. Officials said the following day that the first round of flights would carry Nestlé Formula from Zurich to Indiana. Saturday’s statement said the urgency of the situation necessitated the use of a military aircraft for the first delivery.

The shortage of supplies has recently led to hospitalizations for some malnourished infants.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsakc will travel to Indianapolis to welcome the arrival of the first shipment of formula. The Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services are working with manufacturers to identify available overseas sources of infant formula and to submit transportation requests to the U.S. Transportation Command.

The Alfaamino products have been prioritized as they are formula types that the administration says are critically scarce. Alfaamino is primarily available through hospitals and home health care companies that serve patients at home.

The government plans to announce more flights in the coming days.

Baby formula has been in short supply at retail stores over the past year due to widespread supply chain dislocation. The situation became acute in mid-February when Abbott Laboratories recalled products and closed its largest infant formula plant in Sturgis, Michigan over concerns about possible contamination after four infants became ill and two died.

Federal regulators have found no direct link between the bacteria contaminating the formulas in the sick infants and the Sturgis facility, but said it failed to comply with safety and quality practices.

The Food and Drug Administration this week gave Abbott Nutrition, the division that makes baby formula, permission to reopen the Sturgis facility if it takes corrective action, such as reducing the amount of food available to it. B. Hiring an independent expert to oversee compliance processes. Abbott says it can resume production within a few weeks of receiving final approval, but that stores won’t receive shipments for another six to eight weeks.

Click here to read more reports on FreightWaves/American Shipper by Eric Kulisch.

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