Foreign infant formula shipments rise amid US shortages

The White House has announced that more than 20 million bottles of infant formula will soon be shipped to the US to help address an ongoing shortage across the country.

Initially, the equivalent of about 16 million 8-ounce bottles of Gerber formula will be shipped from Mexico to Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday and distributed to retailers, officials said Wednesday.

Approximately 5.5 million bottles of Bubs formula were also on their way to Los Angeles from Melbourne, Australia this week and Philadelphia in early July, and more than 1.5 million bottles of Nestlé were being shipped to Texas from Germany, according to a series of press releases.

Under President Joe Biden’s “Operation Fly Formula” mission, federal agencies have teamed up to collect shipments of government-approved infant formula from international distributors and bring them back to the states to get them to shelves faster.

The US has been facing a shortage of baby formula that began due to supply chain problems during the COVID-19 pandemic and was exacerbated by the closure of the country’s largest formula factory in connection with a deadly bacteria scare.

Gerber Good Start Gentle infant formula was one of the products brought in from Mexico during Operation Fly Formula.
Gerber Good Start Gentle infant formula was one of the products brought in from Mexico during Operation Fly Formula.
whitehouse.gov

Abbott Laboratories closed its Michigan plant in February after the Food and Drug Administration investigated whether two childhood bacterial deaths and two other illnesses were linked to the facility.

The factory reopened in early June but said it would take eight weeks for new formula production to hit store shelves.

The FDA announced Wednesday that it was investigating the January death of another baby who had consumed formula from the factory.

The agency has not definitively linked Abbott to any deaths, but its investigation has uncovered numerous violations at the plant.

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