WASHINGTON — A military plane carrying enough infant formula for more than 1 million baby bottles arrived at Dulles International Airport Wednesday afternoon. The shipment is the second installment of "Operation Fly Formula" aimed at alleviating supply chain shortages.
The 100,000 pounds of Nestlé’s Gerber Good Start Extensive HA infant formula -- a hypoallergenic formula for children with cow's milk allergies -- was shipped by FedEx express from Ramstein Airbase in Germany to Dulles, and will be sent on to a Nestlé distribution facility near Allentown, Pennsylvania.
First Lady Jill Biden and the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy greeted the plane.
Supplies of baby formula across the country have been severely curtailed in recent weeks after a February recall by Abbott Nutrition exacerbated ongoing supply chain disruptions among formula makers, leaving fewer options on store shelves and increasingly anxious parents struggling to find nutrition for their children.
“Operation Fly Formula" was approved by President Joe Biden on May 19 to provide “some incremental relief" as the government works on a more lasting response to the shortage, according to Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council. The first shipment arrived Sunday in Indianapolis, weighing 78,000 pounds with enough formula for more than half a million baby bottles. The president also invoked the Defense Production Act to speed up production of infant formula.
Nestle said that over the past few months it has worked “around the clock” to address the formula shortage and help meet demand.
“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, as well as through hospitals and home health care for those most vulnerable,” the company said in a release.
“At Nestle, we are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to get parents and caregivers the formula they need so their children can thrive,” it added. “We prioritized these products because they serve a critical medical purpose as they are for children with cow’s milk protein allergies.”