Wed, July 06, 2022

international

US military cargo plane brings 'life-saver' baby formula amid shortage


A military cargo plane carrying the first shipment of infant formula from Europe to help address a critical shortage in the United States landed in Indianapolis on Sunday.

 

“They’re life-savers to so many children and so many parents," said Megan Gendig, mother of a seven-month-old infant with a dairy-allergy.

"I’m sure that… babies are going to be able to go sleep comfortably tonight because their parents are going to know that they actually have food to be able to provide to them for the next few days.”

A February 17 recall by top baby formula maker Abbott Laboratories and the closing of its manufacturing plant in Sturgis, Michigan has created one of the biggest infant formula shortages in recent history for US families.

“It is a terrifying feeling to not know where the next meal is going to come from," said Gendig. "I’m able to provide breastmilk for her sometimes, which is great, but I just don’t, I can only imagine if we were solely formula.”

"This is an important step, but it is by no means the only step that must take place. We will continue to work as the president has instructed us to look for every opportunity to increase supply," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who greeted the plane on its arrival.

US President Joe Biden's administration is seeking to stock empty shelves with 1.5 million containers of Nestle specialty infant formulas.

Biden last week invoked the Cold War-era Defence Production Act to help increase supplies.

Nestle said more shipments would arrive in the coming days.

Troops used forklifts to unload boxes of formula from the plane, which the White House said carried 78,000 pounds (35,000 kg) of specialty infant formula, enough for 500,000 bottles, and onto trucks heading to distribution centres.

The transport plane took off early on Sunday from the US military’s Ramstein Air base in Germany.

“These families and these children need these formulas to grow and thrive just for every day," said Dr. Emily Weber, Chief Medical Information Officer for Riley Children's Health in Indianapolis, Indiana.

"To see this kind of urgency and action is really, really special. We wanted to be here to see it all coming off the plane knowing that we’re going to be working with our community partners to get it into the hands of families, it’s just really uplifting.”

Published : May 23, 2022

By : Reuters