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More than 150K pounds of baby formula arrives in Houston

The baby formula arrived at George Bush Intercontinental Airport early Sunday morning by cargo plane.

HOUSTON — Much needed relief for parents arrived by cargo plane Sunday morning at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

More than 150,000 pounds of baby formula arrived just before 7 a.m., ready to provide enough formula for 1.5 million bottles.

The formula shipment is part of President Joe Biden's "Operation Fly Formula," which began in May.

Sunday morning's flight originated in Germany with more than 10,500 cases of formula. The shipment will now make its way to the Nestlé distribution center in Fort Worth, so it can be distributed to Target, Walmart, Kroger and other retailers across the United States.

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The Department of Health and Human Services is expediting the travel of trucks that will drive about 1 million pounds of Gerber Good Start Gentle infant formula from a Nestlé plant to U.S. retailers, the White House said, nearly doubling the amount imported to the U.S. to date. Cargo flights from Europe and Australia already have brought baby formula into the U.S., including two new rounds of air shipments that began this weekend.

The White House has been working to make supply more available as it has faced pressure from parents over supply issues after regulators in February shuttered a Michigan plant run by Abbott that is the largest domestic manufacturer of baby formula over safety concerns. The plant reopened on June 4 after the company committed to additional sanitizing and safety protocols, but shuttered again more than a week ago after severe weather caused damage to the plant.

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The company said it needs time to assess damage and re-sanitize the factory after severe thunderstorms and heavy rains swept through southwestern Michigan on June 13.

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration moved to ease federal import regulations to allow baby formula to be shipped to the U.S., and Biden authorized the use of the Defense Production Act to provide federal support to move formula from overseas into the U.S.

The White House says that by June 26, it will have brought 32 flights and almost 19 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of infant formula into the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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