June 30, 2022

Operation Fly Formula created to help US families

Operation Fly Formula created to help US families

By: Sydney Sheffield

Aimed to target the infant formula shortage, President Joe Biden has announced Operation Fly Formula. Under Operation Fly Formula, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are authorized to use Department of Defense (DOD)-contracted commercial aircraft to pick up overseas infant formula that meets U.S. health and safety standards, so it can get to store shelves faster.

Additionally, the President signed the Access to Baby Formula Act into law. This piece of legislation authorizes USDA to take certain actions to address emergencies, disasters, and supply chain disruptions, specifically the shortage of infant formula, affecting participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

“This law helps parents get their babies the formula they need by making sure there is never a delay in getting help out the door; and it will hold baby formula manufacturers accountable if they want to do business with the USDA,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “I’m proud of my colleagues for coming together so quickly to take action addressing this emergency.”

According to the White House, the first two Operation Fly Formula flights brought in 170,000 pounds of Gerber and Alfamino formulas. Later announcements have included 300,000 pounds of two kinds of formula manufactured in the United Kingdom by Kendamil, 380,000 pounds of Bubs brand infant formula from Australia and 110,000 pounds of a formula made in Germany by Nestle called Nan Supreme Pro. The total amount as of this writing is 960,000 pounds of infant formula, enough to make 11.4 million 8-ounce bottles. "It will make a noticeable
difference," said Dr. Steve Abrams, immediate past chair of the American Association of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition.

USDA also announced it will offer nationwide waivers to increase access to infant formula for families in need as states receive and distribute imported infant formula made available by Operation Fly Formula and the Access to Baby Formula Act. The USDA will build upon flexibilities to ease the access of infant formula for WIC families.

“USDA is committed to providing our WIC families with nutritious foods, and while we continue working with our many partners to bring the infant formula shortages to a speedy conclusion, we’re also going to keep looking for ways to help families here and now,” said Stacy Dean, USDA’s deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services. “We’re maximizing flexibility, encouraging action, and providing ongoing support so we can all overcome this obstacle together.”

Check out the latest updates on the infant formula shortage from the White House.