See photos of military plane delivering 78,000 pounds of baby formula from Europe to Indiana

·2 min read

A  C-17 military plane with 78,000 pounds of formula for infants and toddlers with cow milk allergies arrived Sunday to relieve struggling caretakers amid a national shortage.

In February, several brands of infant formula manufactured at an Abbott facility in Sturgis, Michigan, were recalled after four infants became sick with bacterial infections. .

As part of President Joe Biden’s Operation Fly Formula initiative, the first shipment of European formula arrived from Germany at Indianapolis International Airport. Biden triggered the Defense Production Act, giving the plant priority for necessary supplies to restock shelves.

FedEx trucks delivered 132 pallets of formula, enough to feed 9,000 babies and 18,000 toddlers for a week, reports The Indianapolis Star, part of the USA TODAY Network., to a Nestle distribution plant in nearby Plainfield.

Crew members of an Air Force C-17 prepare to unload baby formula after its arrival from Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The arrival of the first shipment of formula brought to the United States under Operation Fly Formula in response to the infant formula shortage caused by Abbott Nutrition’s voluntary recall arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, May 22, 2022, on a Air Force C-17.
Crew members of an Air Force C-17 prepare to unload baby formula after its arrival from Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The arrival of the first shipment of formula brought to the United States under Operation Fly Formula in response to the infant formula shortage caused by Abbott Nutrition’s voluntary recall arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, May 22, 2022, on a Air Force C-17.
Dr. Jeffrey Rothenberg, an OBGYN at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, left, watches as pallets of baby formula are unloaded.
Dr. Jeffrey Rothenberg, an OBGYN at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, left, watches as pallets of baby formula are unloaded.
US Air Force Airmen assigned to the 721st Aerial Port Squadron build pallets of infant formula during Operation Fly Formula at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. U.S. President Joe Biden launched Operation Fly Formula to speed up the import of infant formula from Europe to Indiana.
US Air Force Airmen assigned to the 721st Aerial Port Squadron build pallets of infant formula during Operation Fly Formula at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. U.S. President Joe Biden launched Operation Fly Formula to speed up the import of infant formula from Europe to Indiana.
Some of the 132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula are seen after being unloaded from an Air Force C-17 plane at the Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, May 22, 2022.
Some of the 132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula are seen after being unloaded from an Air Force C-17 plane at the Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, May 22, 2022.
132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula are transferred to a truck after arriving on an Air Force C-17 at the Indianapolis International Airport May 22, 2022.
132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula are transferred to a truck after arriving on an Air Force C-17 at the Indianapolis International Airport May 22, 2022.
Crew members load baby formula into a FedEx truck for transportation to a distribution facility in Plainfield, Indiana.
Crew members load baby formula into a FedEx truck for transportation to a distribution facility in Plainfield, Indiana.

The formula will go to hospitals and health clinics around the country.

More: How to find baby formula alternatives amid shortage — and why you shouldn't make your own

The White House's announcement on May 18 expedited the shipping process from Europe, which typically would take about two weeks to arrive after an order is placed, said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as the shipment was unloaded.

Steven Gendig, of Bargersville, holds his daughter, Ensley, as they await the arrival of a shipment of baby formula at the airport. The arrival of the first shipment of formula brought to the United States under Operation Fly Formula in response to the infant formula shortage caused by Abbott Nutrition’s voluntary recall arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, May 22, 2022, on a Air Force C-17.
Steven Gendig, of Bargersville, holds his daughter, Ensley, as they await the arrival of a shipment of baby formula at the airport. The arrival of the first shipment of formula brought to the United States under Operation Fly Formula in response to the infant formula shortage caused by Abbott Nutrition’s voluntary recall arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, May 22, 2022, on a Air Force C-17.

“The reason we are doing this is obviously the critical need that is out there,” Vilsack said. “We’re going to get this here in a matter of days, and a matter of days means a lot to the moms and dads who are worried.”

A broader range of baby formula from Europe is expected to arrive in the Washington, D.C. area, in the coming days, Vilsack said.

An employee walks past empty shelves where baby formula would normally be located at a CVS in New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 16, 2022.
An employee walks past empty shelves where baby formula would normally be located at a CVS in New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 16, 2022.
Equipment is positioned on the tarmac in preparation for the arrival of a shipment of baby formula. The arrival of the first shipment of formula brought to the United States under Operation Fly Formula in response to the infant formula shortage caused by Abbott Nutrition’s voluntary recall arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, May 22, 2022, on a Air Force C-17.
Equipment is positioned on the tarmac in preparation for the arrival of a shipment of baby formula. The arrival of the first shipment of formula brought to the United States under Operation Fly Formula in response to the infant formula shortage caused by Abbott Nutrition’s voluntary recall arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, May 22, 2022, on a Air Force C-17.

The Food and Drug Administration and Abbott reached a deal last week to reopen the plant, although it could take up to two weeks to open and an additional six to eight for shelves to be restocked, Abbott Nutrition officials said.

Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY's NOW team. She loves to make pizza, watch standup comedy, photograph her friends and spoil two loving cats.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Baby formula arrives in US from Germany on military plane: photos