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Indianapolis Airlift: 78,000 lbs of foreign baby formula lands in Biden's America from Germany

The president first announced the arrival of the international shipment on Sunday, promising that the administration “is working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it"

Baby formula arrives in Indianapolis from Germany
Baby formula arrives in Indianapolis from Germany | Secretary Tom Vilsack Twitter

May 23, 2022 4:26pm

Updated: May 24, 2022 6:26pm

Just days after announcing the launch of Operation Fly Formula in an attempt to mitigate the nationwide baby formula shortage, a military cargo plane carrying 78,000 pounds of specialty infant formula arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport from Germany’s Ramstein Air Base on Sunday morning.

According to ABC News, the aircraft carried two types of baby formula — Alfamino Junior and Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infan. 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was at the airport to receive the formula and said, "This shipment of formula serves a critical medical purpose and will help infants with specific dietary needs requiring specialized formula."

The president first announced the arrival of the international shipment on Sunday, promising that the administration “is working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it.”

"Folks, I'm excited to tell you that the first flight from Operation Fly Formula is loaded up with more than 70,000 pounds of infant formula and about to land in Indiana," Biden, 79, said in a tweet.

According to the White House, the formula will not be distributed to stores, but rather to doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Through the new program, the equivalent of up to 1.5 million 8 oz. bottles of formula will be brought to the United States from abroad, People reported.

The shipment ultimately reached Indianapolis just days after Biden invoked the Defense Production Act in an attempt to boost the supply of baby formula, acknowledging the crisis eight months after becoming aware of the problem.

In invoking the 1950 act, Biden asked Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack to "take all appropriate measures available to get additional safe formula into the country immediately." 

Biden requested the agency heads work with the Department of Defense "to utilize contracted aircraft to accelerate the arrival of infant formula into the United States that meets our Government’s health and safety standards."

The shortage began when Abbott Nutrition issued a voluntary recall in February of powdered formula after several infants fell ill.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said the FDA first became aware of the possible problems with Abbott formula in September 2021. She pressed the Biden administration in a letter in March to know why the agency did not act sooner.