First Shipment of Baby Formula Arrives in US From Germany

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
May 22, 2022Updated: May 24, 2022

A U.S. military plane arrived in Indianapolis, Indiana, early Sunday morning carrying 35 tons of baby formula amid a nationwide shortage.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who was there Sunday morning to welcome the shipment, said the shipment would provide a formula for about 9,000 babies and 18,000 toddlers for one week.

“It is a large shipment of very specific and specialized formula,” the secretary said on Sunday morning, reported CNN. “Formula for moms and dads who have children who have allergies where the regular formula just simply will not work.”

The formula was made in Nestle’s plant in Zurich, Switzerland, and it was sent via the Ramstein U.S. Air Base on a C-17 cargo plane to the United States. The White House and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have both scrambled to reopen an Abbott Laboratories baby formula facility in Sturgis, Michigan, that has been shut down for months amid an FDA investigation into whether bacteria contaminated some of the company’s products.

But Abbott, which is one of the few companies that can make baby formula in the United States, said that it may take two weeks to reopen the plant. Then, the company added, it could take another six to eight weeks before baby formula products reach store shelves.

Abbott Chief Executive Robert Ford apologized for the shortage on Sunday and said his firm would fix it, adding the plant would reopen during the first week of June.

“We’re sorry to every family we’ve let down since our voluntary recall exacerbated our nation’s baby formula shortage,” he wrote.

“Certainly within the next 30 days, we’re going to begin seeing abatement of this situation,” Vilsack said Sunday, according to the Indianapolis Star. “Over the course of the next several weeks, we should see an ever-increasing supply.”

Other than baby formula shipments, he said, the federal government will also use the Defense Production Act to manufacture more products.

Vilsack added that “the challenge for those of us in government is to figure out ways in which we can learn from this experience, develop greater resiliency in the supply chain and greater flexibility in the supply chain … we have focused so much on efficiency that we have forgotten the lesson of resiliency and I think that we’ve learned in a number of areas, the need for additional capacity.”

Earlier this month, the Biden administration faced a torrent of criticism from parents and Republicans, accusing the White House of moving too slowly with fixing supply while also providing baby formula to illegal immigrant holding centers instead of Americans.