European baby formula shipments to begin arriving in US

Health

(NewsNation) —Baby formula shipments from Europe could begin arriving in the United States as soon as this weekend, curbing some of the issues plaguing parents who are struggling to find formula for their infants.

French company Danone, the world’s second-largest producer of formula, is stepping up its shipments to the United States.

Danone has been a small player in the U.S. formula market, but the current shortage now has them tripling their imports to the United States. The company is now sending 90% of of its shipments to the U.S.

Danone joins Gerber and Nestle as companies that have pledged to send formula to the U.S. from Europe.

The overseas shipments include flights that are part of the Biden administration’s “Operation Fly Formula,” which allows commercial airlines to bring baby formula from overseas.

Aid cannot come soon enough for parents ailing to secure formula for their babies.

“It’s very scary, we’re losing a lot of sleep. We’re very concerned,” said mother Cecilia Perkins, whose son requires a special formula due to medical conditions. “He’s been through so much, a traumatic brain injury. The last thing we need to worry about is him starving.”

Congress and the Biden administration have approached the baby formula shortage aggressively and in a bipartisan manner.

Shelves typically stocked with baby formula sit mostly empty at a store in San Antonio, Texas, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Parents across the U.S. are scrambling to find baby formula because supply disruptions and a massive safety recall have swept many leading brands off store shelves. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Pentagon said it is working to bring 1.5 million bottles of formula to the U.S.

Earlier this week, both branches of Congress approved legislation that will allow families on a special formula voucher program, which covers half of all formula sales but limits families to one specific brand of formula, to use the vouchers to purchase other brands of formula.

“Now, millions of parents will have an easier time finding the baby formula that they need,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

President Joe Biden also invoked the Defense Production Act Thursday to eliminate manufacturing bottlenecks in formula production.

The House additionally passed legislation that would pump $28 million in emergency funding into the Food and Drug Administration to address the formula shortage.

A deal was reached on Monday between federal regulators and Abbott to reopen the company’s Michigan formula plant, the largest in the country, which has been closed since February because of contamination issues.

It will take eight to 10 weeks for the production to reach stores, the FDA said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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