IMPORTANT: It's a Serious Matter of Life

US importing baby formula from Mexico to ease shortage

Baby Formula Shortage
A can of Toddler Nutritional Drink is shown on a shelf in a grocery store, Friday, June 17, 2022, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Baby Formula Shortage
Cans of infant formula are shown at a home, Friday, June 17, 2022, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Baby Formula Inspections
FILE - Baby formula is displayed on the shelves of a grocery store in Carmel, Ind. on May 10, 2022. A bill introduced early June, 2022, would require the Food and Drug Administration to inspect infant formula facilities every six months. U.S. regulators have historically inspected baby formula plants at least once a year, but they did not inspect any of the three biggest manufacturers in 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
Baby Formula Factory
FILE - An Abbott Laboratories manufacturing plant is shown in Sturgis, Mich., on Sept. 23, 2010. Severe weather has forced Abbott Nutrition to pause production at a Michigan baby formula factory that had just restarted. The company said late Wednesday, June 15, 2022 that production for its EleCare specialty formula has stopped, but it has enough supply to meet needs until more formula can be made. (Brandon Watson/Sturgis Journal via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is providing logistical support to import the equivalent of about 16 million 8-ounce baby formula bottles from Mexico starting this weekend, as part of its efforts to ease nationwide supply shortages caused by the closure of the largest U.S. manufacturing plant.

The Department of Health and Human Services is expediting the travel of trucks that will drive about 1 million pounds of Gerber Good Start Gentle infant formula from a Nestlé plant to U.S. retailers, the White House said, nearly doubling the amount imported to the U.S. to date. Cargo flights from Europe and Australia already have brought baby formula into the U.S., including two new rounds of air shipments that begin this weekend.

The White House has been working to make supply more available as it has faced pressure from parents over supply issues after regulators in February shuttered a Michigan plant run by Abbott that is the largest domestic manufacturer of baby formula over safety concerns. The plant reopened on June 4 after the company committed to additional sanitizing and safety protocols, but shuttered again more than a week ago after severe weather caused damage to the plant.

The company said it needs time to assess damage and re-sanitize the factory after severe thunderstorms and heavy rains swept through southwestern Michigan on June 13.

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration moved to ease federal import regulations to allow baby formula to be shipped to the U.S., and Biden authorized the use of the Defense Production Act to provide federal support to move formula from overseas into the U.S.

Wednesday's announcement also includes air shipments of 1.65 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of Nestlé NAN Supremepro 2 infant formula from Germany to Texas this weekend, and 5.5 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of Bubs infant formula in two shipments on June 26 and July 5.

The White House says that by June 26, it efforts, dubbed “Operation Fly Formula," will have brought 32 flights and almost 19 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of infant formula into the U.S.

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