The White House announced on Wednesday that it is importing approximately 16 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of baby formula from Mexico to address America’s ongoing shortage.
The statement was noted as the Tenth Operation Fly Formula Mission in recent weeks.
“Today, President Biden is announcing that his Administration is sourcing trucking, facilitated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for Operation Fly Formula to transport Gerber infant formula from Mexico to Fort Worth, Texas starting on June 24,” the statement read.
“This delivery will include approximately 1 million pounds of Gerber Good Start Gentle infant formula, the equivalent of approximately 16 million 8-ounce bottles. The product will be available through retail channels,” it added.
The White House stated that by June 26 the flights are on track to complete 32 trips. The operation began delivering its first flights of formula from Europe in late May.
“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,” President Biden tweeted on May 22. “Our team is working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it.”
In addition to Operation Fly Formula flights, Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to ensure that manufacturers have the ingredients needed to create the formula.
“HHS being authorized to use the DPA means infant formula manufacturers can go to the front of the line and get raw materials from their suppliers—like labels or oils—that will allow manufactures to speed up production of formula,” according to the act.
The formula shortage was noted as the result of the closure of an Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan. The location was recently reopened but was forced to temporarily close once again due to severe flooding in the area.
“Severe thunderstorms and heavy rains came through southwestern Michigan on Monday evening, resulting in high winds, hail, power outages and flood damage throughout the area,” Abbott said in a statement.
“These torrential storms produced significant rainfall in a short period of time — overwhelming the city’s stormwater system … and resulting in flooding in parts of the city, including areas of our plant,” it added.
Despite the Biden administration’s claims to address the baby formula shortage, the president’s efforts have been ridiculed by many who noted that the crisis has been known about for months.
During a White House daily briefing last week, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was mocked after saying she didn’t “have anything new” regarding the formula shortage.
“I think it’s been a couple of days since we have asked — been asked that question,” Jean-Pierre said as she searched through her notes. “Okay, I don’t have anything new, I know we made some announcements last week, I just don’t have them in front of me.”
After a long pause, Jean-Pierre concluded, “I don’t have anything new,” leading to widespread comments online blasting the administration’s failure to adequately handle the crisis.