The US is currently grappling with a major baby formula shortage leaving many parents struggling to access the product to feed their children. The situation is severe with supermarket supplies of formula milk currently at 43% of usual levels, according to Datasembly.
With supply shortages set to last, the government has started on a mission to import formula from abroad. To help with this, Delta Air Lines is offering to fly supplies of formula from its hub in the UK back to the US to help ease demand.
The crisis has arisen due to the closure of the Abbot Laboratory, one of the country’s largest manufacturers of formula milk. The plant closed because of an ongoing federal investigation into the company. The investigation examined the link between the death of two babies and the formula produced at the laboratory. However, Abbot has denied any responsibility.
These problems are being made worse by supply chain difficulties brought on by the pandemic. But Dr Christopher Duggan, director of the Center for Nutrition at Boston children’s hospital, said the closure of the Abbot Lab “really exacerbated things.”
With a bad situation only getting worse, the White House stepped in to import more formula into the country, a mission dubbed ‘Operation Fly Formula.’
Delta has come forward to help ease the constraints. Following the launch of Operation Fly Formula, the airline offered to use its planes to transport 3.2 million eight-ounce bottles from London’s Heathrow Airport to Boston and Detroit. The humanitarian operation is set to substantially ease the supply constraints and offer parents across the country a solution to this serious problem.
The milk is being supplied by British firm Kendamil Nutricare with over 200,000 pounds of the powdered formula set to be delivered to Boston Logan Airport and Detroit Metro Airport between June 20 and June 24. Overall, Kendamil has committed to delivering 54 million bottles to help temporarily ease supply constraints in the U.S.
Rob Walpole, Vice President of Delta Cargo, said, “Delivering baby formula to those who need it most as part of Operation Fly Formula is one way we can live out a deeply ingrained core value at Delta: a commitment to serving the health and well-being of our communities.”
Over the course of 13 flights, the Delta Cargo planes will move 212,000 pounds of the formula, which will then be distributed and made available to purchase in the US both within shops and online. The journey will be the sixth flight operated through the Operation Fly Formula mission with the White House set to coordinate more flights to help combat the crisis.
United Airlines have similarly signed up, transporting 1.6 million bottles of Nestle formula and 3.7 million bottles of Kedamil to Virginia and Texas. Other countries such as Germany and Austria are also planning to contribute their supplies to aid in the situation.
The US is facing an unprecedented amount of economic hardship with low-income and vulnerable households being impacted the most. By stepping up during this difficult time, companies like Delta are hopefully blazing a trail for others to follow.
Photo: Delta News Hub