Roughly 95,000 cans of baby formula were flown into the United States from Australia on June 12 amid a nationwide shortage, marking the fourth flight of “Operation Fly Formula.”
Bubs Australia Ltd stated in May that it planned to ship at least 1.25 million containers of its baby formula to the United States in an effort to alleviate supply issues.
The New South Wales-based company announced on June 10 that it had reached a deal with U.S. grocery chains Kroger Co. and Albertsons to import the formula as part of the Biden administration’s “Operation Fly Formula.”
Under that operation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services has been granted permission to use Department of Defense-contracted commercial aircraft to pick up infant formula from overseas “that meets U.S. health and safety standards, so it can get to store shelves faster.”
Bubs Australia Ltd said the product was expected to hit shelves in retail stores beginning June 20.
The latest shipment was flown into Los Angeles on June 12, ABC News reported, and is one of two that will arrive in the United States this week from the company. The second shipment is expected to touch down in Columbus, Ohio, on June 16, according to the outlet.
“We extend our thanks to our retail partners, who will [endeavor] that our products quickly get to retail shelves in the States and stores in most need with the highest stock-out rates,” Bubs founder and CEO Kristy Carr said in a statement to ABC News.
A Bubs Australia spokesperson told The Epoch Times: “95,000 tins were on board the first shipment to Los Angeles on Sunday and will be distributed to areas of greatest need by Kroger Co. and Albertsons. A second airfreight has been organised but the date, number of tins, destination and distribution plans have not yet been disclosed.”
The Biden administration has said it’s been working hard to address the current nationwide shortages, which have been prompted by supply chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shortages were worsened by the shutdown of Abbott Nutrition’s plant in Sturgis, Michigan, amid a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation into alleged bacterial contamination at the site.
The FDA has since reached an agreement with Abbott to reopen the plant and the company announced last weekend that it restarted formula production at the Sturgis facility.
However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General announced in a statement on June 2 that it’s opening an investigation into the FDA’s response to the issues at the Sturgis plant.
“We will determine whether FDA followed the inspections and recall process for infant formula in accordance with Federal requirements,” the statement reads.
That audit is expected to be completed in 2023.
Biden last week announced the sixth Operation Fly Formula flight, in which Delta Air Lines will move Kendamil formula free of charge to Logan Airport in Boston and Detroit Metro Airport from Heathrow Airport in London between June 20 and June 24.
However, some lawmakers, including Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), have criticized the administration over its response to nationwide shortages, pointing to “the sheer incompetence of Joe Biden and House Democrats.”
Biden said on June 4 that more than 127 million bottles of infant formula that have been deemed safe are heading to U.S. shelves “as soon as possible.”
Update: This article has been updated with a statement from Bubs Australia.