President Joe Biden’s baby formula crisis has a father reportedly driving 1,000 miles to find formula, while the administration is touting a flight carrying 70,000 pounds of product from Germany on Sunday.
“Folks, I’m excited to tell you that the first flight from Operation Fly Formula is loaded up with more than 70,000 pounds of infant formula and about to land in Indiana,” Biden tweeted Sunday. “Our team is working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it.”
A C-17 cargo plane previously used for an aid mission to Ukraine has been filled with 132 pallets of baby formula from Germany, landing in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Sunday, according to reports.
Biden has announced the deployment of the Defense Production Act to assist with his administration’s shortage of baby formula, which had a father of a premature infant reportedly putting 1,000 miles on his car this week to find the out-of-stock nutritional necessity.
“It’s been a frustrating, heartbreaking, unnecessary challenge for a kid who has already overcome so much,” Mac Jaehnert told CNN on Saturday, about his premature daughter MacKenzie Jaehnert born in December.
MacKenzie’s parents told CNN they are “terrified” of transitioning “a kid who is just barely hanging on” to a new formula.
“I fear that she’ll fall off of her growth chart more than she already is,” mother Emily Jaehnert told CNN. “I fear that she will have an upset stomach, that it won’t sit well with her, that she won’t get the nutrition that she needs, that this particular formula right now is providing for her.”
The baby formula crisis is a unique challenge for the administration, after an Abbott factory was shut down in February due to a reported bacterial contamination. It reportedly could reopen soon, but there are regulatory barriers for infant formula production in the U.S., according to CNN.
“It’s extremely hard to bring a new brand of formula into the market,” HealthyBaby founder Shazi Visram told CNN. “The regulatory process to get a product on shelves is extremely rigorous, very slow, and capital intensive.
“If you’re starting from scratch, the most aggressive timeline to market is three to five years, starting with recipe development, to supply chain development, then clinical trials, FDA review and finally production.”
Visram is calling for long-term regulatory reform of the industry.
“The hurdles to innovate in this category are so high and this current shortage is a wake-up call that we need a regulatory framework that supports pathways to innovation while maintaining the utmost quality and safety for our babies,” she told CNN.
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