On Thursday, the White House announced that the first emergency flights of infant formula as part of a new Fly Formula operation by the U.S. government will transport Nestle SA formulas from Zurich to Plainfield, Indiana.

The Ministry of Defense is examining its list of approved contractors of commercial airlines to determine the best aircraft to meet the transport requests of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Operation Fly Formula flight series will carry the equivalent of 1.5 million 8-ounce bottles of three formulas – Alfamino Infant, Alfamino Junior and Gerber Good Start Extensive HA – hypoallergenic formulas for children allergic to cow’s milk protein. Deliveries will include about 246 flights.

Formulas are preferred because they serve critical medical purposes and are lacking in the U.S. after Abbott Laboratories ”(NYSE: ABT) The plant in Sturgis, Michigan, was closed due to pollution problems.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden founded Operation Fly Formula accelerate the import of infant formulas and help replenish deficits domestically, leading to empty retail shelves across the country, sending parents on a hunt far and wide to find food for their babies. Acute deficiency is beginning to lead to the hospitalization of some infants who are not receiving proper nutrition.

As part of the emergency program, the U.S. Transportation Command will select airlines that provide air transportation to the government under existing contracts. Carriers belong to the Civil Aviation Fleet, a national security program in which cargo and passenger airlines agree to provide aircraft to the military during a national security crisis in exchange for being the preferred providers of transportation services in peacetime.

The Department of Defense coordinates Operation Fly Formula with the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, which are responsible for determining formulas that meet U.S. health and safety standards.

“Once we’ve identified a manufacturer that has an available mix, we’re working with them to ensure specificity,” a senior administration spokesman said Thursday during a White House press briefing on steps to address the shortage of infant formula. The planes will land at airfields near the overseas manufacturing facility and be delivered to one of the company’s domestic facilities, where the product must be FDA-certified.

“And then we will work through suppliers and retailers to come to this manufacturing plant to pick it up and hopefully deliver it to the communities that need it most,” said an official, whose name is not allowed to be named. .

Nestle, headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, has self-increased air traffic following the withdrawal of Abbott and the closure of Sturgis in February to bring the formula from the Netherlands and Switzerland. This was previously reported by FreightWaves.

The supply of baby formula was limited even before production stopped at the large Abbott plant due to constant bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Military-style air transportation and the activation of the Defense Manufacturing Act to determine priority ingredients for blend manufacturers are the most decisive actions of the Biden administration, which faces criticism for not acting quickly enough to eliminate the deficit earlier. The Food and Drug Administration also said this week that it would allow major formula manufacturers to import products that are not currently produced for the U.S. market and do not meet normal regulatory requirements.

Click here for more FreightWaves / American Shipper stories by Eric Kulish.


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