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Tipsheet

'Very Desperate' Parents Frantically Search for Baby Formula

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

After the FDA shut down Abbott Nutrition -- one of the country's largest formula manufacturers -- in February,  parents have been frantically going from store-to-store in hopes of finding baby formula. They've been searching for months. 

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In May, when bare shelves and shortages reached crisis levels, President Joe Biden announced Operation Fly Formula and lifted FDA restrictions on importation of foreign baby formula. So far, 17 imports from a number of different countries have been announced. Earlier this week the White House touted new supply from Switzerland. 

"Today, President Biden is announcing that his Administration is sourcing two flights, facilitated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for Operation Fly Formula to transport Nestlé Health Science amino acid-based formula from Switzerland to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on July 21 and 22. This delivery will include approximately 74,403 pounds of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino® Infant and Alfamino® Junior formula, the equivalent of 802,446 8-ounce bottles. These products will be distributed primarily to hospitals and home health care providers," the White House released in a statement Monday. 

Operation Fly Formula hasn't been enough. Not even close. The crisis is ongoing and parents are increasingly desperate. 

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In June, Abbott Nutrition reported a flood that shut down the plant again after the FDA gave the green light for reopening and production. 

Abbott Nutrition shut down operations at its Sturgis, MI, plant the third week of June when floodwaters surged in after local storm drain systems were overcome by torrential rains.

At that time Abbott officials said the plant would be cleaned and sanitized but did not say how long it would be before production at the infant formula plant would resume. They also did not provide any details on which parts of the plant were affected or how cleaning would be accomplished. Floodwater is known to carry many contaminants and it is particularly difficult to clean buildings and surfaces exposed to it.

As of June 28 the plant remained closed and company officials remained close mouthed about its status.

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