Baby formula shortage: 78,000 pounds of infant formula arrive in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — A shipment of baby formula arrived Sunday in Indianapolis on a U.S. military plane from Europe, with enough for more than 500,000 baby bottles, The Associated Press and CNN reported.

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The 132 pallets of Nestle Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula were sent to the U.S. on a C-17 cargo plane from Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the AP reported. Administration officials are hoping the infusion of more baby formula will help alleviate the nationwide shortage.

The formula, which arrived via Operation Fly Formula, will be distributed to areas around the country, according to the AP.

The shipments include the equivalent of up to 1.5 million 8-ounce bottles.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Indianapolis to greet the plane, WRTV reported.

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Another 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula are expected to arrive in the U.S. over the next few days, the AP reported.

The shortage follows the closure of the nation’s largest domestic manufacturing plant in Michigan in February over safety issues.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave permission to Abbott Nutrition to partially restart its shuttered plant to help alleviate the shortage.

The company, whose major plant is located in Sturgis, Michigan, is one of four manufacturers that combine for 90% of the nation’s supply of formula, The Washington Post reported. The others are Reckitt, Nestle/Gerber and Perrigo.

Much of the formula shortage is tied to the halt in production at the Abbott facility since the company is one of four manufacturers that together produce about 90% of the country’s supply. In February, Abbott recalled its formula after reports surfaced that bacteria made two children ill and led to the deaths of two others, according to the newspaper.

Abbott has said there has been no definitive link between its products and the cases that were reported.