May 22 (UPI) — A shipment of infant formula arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday as the Biden administration works to address a nationwide shortage.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saidthe shipment of 78,000 pounds of specialty infant formula arrived in Indiana on Sunday morning.
“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,” President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning. “Our team is working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it.”
The formula was manufactured in an FDA-approved facility and would be inspected on arrival, Jean-Pierre added.
“We prioritize this for the first shipment because this formula type serves a critical medical purpose and is in short supply in the United States as the result of the Abbott Sturgis plant closure,” she said.
A C-17 cargo plane that originated in Switzerland was trucked to Germany where it was loaded with the formula and flown to the United States.
A Biden administration official told CNN that the formula contained in the shipment will be distributed to hospitals, doctors, home healthcare facilities and pharmacies, with none making its way to store shelves.
The shipment contains hypoallergenic formula that will be fed to babies intolerant of protein in cow milk.
Indianapolis was chosen as the arrival site for the formula, which includes Nestle Health Science formula, as a Nestle distribution site is located in the city.
“Some cases are ready for distribution in the next couple of days,” a Nestle spokesperson said. “Others will be released into the supply chain after standard quality testing is completed.”
FedEx partners will assist with the sorting and distribution of the formula.
National Economic Council director Brian Deese told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that more flights of infant formula will take place “early this week.”
“We’re going to keep ramping that up until we get there,” Deese said.
The nation has been facing a formula shortage since Abbott Nutrition, the largest infant formula manufacturer in the United States, announced a recall of several lines of powdered formula on Feb. 17, after they were linked to infections in infants.
The Biden administration has taken various steps to combat the shortage since, including invoking the Defense Production Act on Wednesday to direct the federal government to prioritize key ingredients for formula production and compel suppliers to provide resources to formula manufacturers before any other customers that have ordered those supplies.