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Biden flying in 27.5 million cans of baby formula from Australia

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 5/27/2022 Emily Goodin, Senior U.S. Political Reporter

The Biden administration is bringing in enough baby formula from Australia to fill 27.5 million full-size, 8-ounce bottles, the Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday.

'Bubs Australia plans to provide at least 1.25 million cans of several varieties of its infant formula,' the agency said. 

Some of the product is already in stock and more is being manufactured, the FDA said.

President Joe Biden also shared the news, which comes as his administration battles criticism it didn't do enough to head off the formula shortage that came about afteer Abbott Laboratories' manufacturing plant in Michigan recalled some of its products in February.

'I’ve got more good news: 27.5 million bottles of safe infant formula manufactured by Bubs Australia are coming to the United States. We’re doing everything in our power to get more formula on shelves as soon as possible,' Biden tweeted. 

'I’ve got more good news: 27.5 million bottles of safe infant formula manufactured by Bubs Australia are coming to the United States. We’re doing everything in our power to get more formula on shelves as soon as possible,' President Joe Biden tweeted

'I’ve got more good news: 27.5 million bottles of safe infant formula manufactured by Bubs Australia are coming to the United States. We’re doing everything in our power to get more formula on shelves as soon as possible,' President Joe Biden tweeted
© Provided by Daily Mail

The FDA didn't have details on when the Australia formula would be flown into the US but White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday more flights were in the works. 

'You’ll expect more flights. I just don’t have anything to announce at this time,' she said at her press briefing.

She also said President Biden has faith in the FDA to fix the shortage.

'So the FDA has an important mission, right? It’s to make sure that the infant formula on the shelf isn’t just available but also that it’s safe,' she said. 'The President believes that FDA, and particularly its food division, needs to be well resourced to do its critical work and do regular annual inspection.'

Two shipments of formula have come in from Europe under Biden's 'Operation Fly Formula.'

Jill Biden and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy greeted the second overseas shipment on Wednesday with the first lady vowing the administration won't stop working until parents have all the food they need for their infants.

'I'm here today to say to parents, you aren't alone at the highest levels of Joe's administration. He and his team understand what you're going through and they are finding solutions. And they won't stop until all parents can get the formula all their children need,' she said.

Biden and Murthy were at Dulles International Airport, just outside of Washington D.C., to see the 100,00 pounds of baby forumla being unloaded, equivalent to 1 million 8-ounce bottles.  

From Dulles, the formula will be transported to a Nestlé facility in Pennsylvania via cargo trucks. 


Video: Biden says first shipments of baby formula flying in from Europe this weekend (Reuters)

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The infant formula was flown in under the administration's Operation Fly Formula, which is bringing in baby food to cover the shortage in the United States. 

The two shipments brought in total 1.5 million, 8-ounce bottles of infant formula to the United States. 

Jill Biden and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy greeted the second overseas shipment of baby formula into the US

Jill Biden and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy greeted the second overseas shipment of baby formula into the US
© Provided by Daily Mail

'I want every parent who is concerned about the formula supply chain challenge to know something for a lot of people across the administration including myself. This is a deeply personal issue. I have two small kids at home,' Murthy said.

'And it was just a few years ago that my own son was on infant formula. I know firsthand just how important it is to parents that they have confidence in their ability to safely and securely feed their child and I know how frustrating and scary it can be when that security is out of reach. That is why we will not rest until every parent has the formula they need for their child,' he added.

Biden also thanked the pilots who flew the shipment and the cargo workers at Dulles who unloaded it.  She posed for photos with the group.

The shipment from Ramstein Air Force base in Germany contains 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start® Extensive HA infant formula. This is the remainder of the 1.5 million bottles of three formulas - Alfamino® Infant, Alfamino® Junior, and Gerber Good Start® Extensive HA - the administration was bringing in this week from Europe.

They are speciality hypoallergenic formulas for children with cow's milk protein allergy.  

These formulas have been prioritized because they serve a critical medical purpose and are in short supply in the United States because of the Abbott Sturgis plant closure, the White House said.

Wednesday's shipment was the second round of formula brought in under the administration's 'Operation Fly Formula' initiative.

Over the weekend roughly 78,000 pounds of baby formula was flown into Indianapolis, Indiana from Ramstein Air Base in Germany in the first installment.

The president also invoked the Defense Production Act forcing suppliers to prioritize directing resources to infant formula production above all other contracts.

On Friday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra used the DPA for a third time to ensure Cargill Inc. can deliver the raw materials to maximize production of infant formula, HHS announced.

The department previously used it to help Abbott Nutrition and Mead Johnson/Reckitt to obtain raw materials needed to further accelerate production of infant formula. 

The crisis began when Abbott Nutrition, the nation's biggest manufacturer of infant formula, had to close its Michigan plant over bacterial contamination.

The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it has launched an inquiry into the formula shortage.

The agency said it also aims to shed light on what led to the concentration in the baby formula market and the weak supply chains.

Abbott officials said Tuesday they expect to restart the plant on June 4 and begin shipping new formula to stores about three weeks later. 

Additionally, lawmakers are holding three hearings on the issue this week, calling on company executives, government regulators and outside experts to testify on the shortage. 

Nearly 98% of baby formula is manufactured domestically. Four companies account for roughly 90% of the market: Abbott, Reckitt, Nestle and Perrigo. 

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