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U.S. Military Airlifts Baby Formula From Europe

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A shipment of infant formula intended to fill a nationwide shortage arrived in the USA from Europe on Sunday, and a second flight was expected to bring additional supplies in the approaching days, the Biden administration said.

The shipment, akin to about 500,000 eight-ounce bottles, contained a hypoallergenic formula for youngsters with cow’s milk protein allergy, the White House said in a press release. It provides enough formula to handle 9,000 babies and 18,000 toddlers for per week, Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, said in televised remarks on the airport in Indianapolis, where the shipment arrived on a military plane from Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

“This shipment of formula serves a critical medical purpose and can help infants with specific dietary needs requiring specialized formula,” Mr. Vilsack said on Twitter.

A second shipment, which is anticipated to reach this week, would bring the provision of formula as much as the equivalent of 1.5 million eight-ounce bottles of three formulas, which might later be distributed from a Nestlé facility in Pennsylvania.

The consequences of the closure of the Sturgis plant have been widespread, with stores limiting purchases of formula and oldsters desperately in search of supplies or attempting to make formula at home, which pediatricians discourage. The shortage has also been exacerbated by supply-chain woes and labor shortages related to the pandemic.

The statement from the White House said the pallets of formula that arrived on Sunday were “prioritized because they serve a critical medical purpose” and were briefly supply due to the plant closure in Sturgis.

In one other step to handle the acute shortages, the F.D.A. announced last week that it could loosen up a few of its regulations to encourage recent suppliers to offer formula. The USA normally produces about 98 percent of the formula it consumes, with imports coming primarily from Mexico, Ireland and the Netherlands.

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