Due to dramatic bottlenecks in the US, the US government is flying more infant formula through the Ramstein Air Force Base in Rhineland-Palatinate.
The US government announced a second flight from Ramstein to the US on Sunday night in the coming days. The machine will transport baby food from Swiss manufacturer Nestlé to the US capital, Washington, and from there to the Nestlé factory in Pennsylvania, the White House said. Thereafter, a special formula of infant milk for infants allergic to cow’s milk will be distributed by a logistics company in the United States.
A military plane flew from Ramstein to Indianapolis, Indiana on Sunday with the first delivery of special baby food. US President Joe Biden tweeted during his trip to Asia that there are more than 70,000 pounds (almost 32 tons) of infant formula on board the first military aircraft. “Our team works around the clock to ensure safe food for all who need it.”
Production stopped at a large factory
The background of the bottlenecks is the failure of the Abbott factory, the largest manufacturer of baby food in the US. Abbott recalled several product lines after four infants became ill and two died, possibly from bacterial contamination. Production at one of the company’s Michigan plants was temporarily halted in February.
Biden made bottlenecks a top priority and, among other things, launched a war-time law to increase production. The White House said Abbott and one other manufacturer will have priority when ordering baby ingredients legally. For example, Abbott can prioritize raw materials such as sugar and corn syrup despite supply chain bottlenecks.
In addition, last week, Biden announced “Operation Fly Formula” (approximately: “Operation Baby Food Fly”). The White House announced that the Ramstein military planes would initially be used due to an urgent need as no commercial flights were available over the weekend. However, in the future, most deliveries will be handled by commercial aircraft.
Abbott’s boss announces the measures
Abbott boss Robert Ford regretted the bottlenecks and the consequences on Saturday. “We feel sorry for every family we have failed since our voluntary recall exacerbated the shortage of formula milk in our country,” Ford wrote in an article for the Washington Post. Nevertheless, it is believed that the recall was correct. “We will not take any chances when it comes to children’s health.” It is known that due to the lack of special foods from Abbott, children have been admitted to the hospital who cannot digest other foods and milk. “It’s tragic and painful.”
Ford announced measures to overcome the bottlenecks. Abbott’s boss wrote that the production of this specialty food was given the highest priority. Affected families should be helped by a fund of $ 5 million (EUR 4.73 million). In addition, another Abbott facility that also produces adult products has now been converted into baby food. In addition, baby food is imported from a factory in Ireland. The Michigan facility is slated to reopen in the first week of June. Abbott is also investing in measures to prevent these bottlenecks from reoccurring. (dpa)