Australian stores limit baby formula as China demand hits stocks

May 16, 2018
Coles says some stores have moved the milk supplement from isles to behind counters
Coles says some stores have moved the milk supplement from isles to behind counters

One of Australia's biggest supermarket chains said Wednesday some stores were moving baby formula behind counters and restricting sales as it emerged customers were clearing shelves and selling it online in China for more than double the price.

Coles' decision to take the milk product off aisles follows complaints from worried mothers over supplies and after Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported one kilogram tins bought for up to Aus$35 (US$26) were being resold to Chinese parents for around Aus$100.

"Coles is committed to ensuring that our customers with a genuine need for have access to this product," Coles said in a statement.

"To make sure we have formula available for customers, in some stores we are keeping infant formula behind the service desk or using specially designed electronic article surveillance lids that can only be removed at the register."

The supermarket giant is restricting sales to two tins per customer and working with suppliers to improve availability.

Woolworths said it had no plans to remove the product from shelves but has also tightened restrictions to two units per .

In 2015 an Australian company apologised to mothers after its premium organic baby milk formula was wiped off ahead of China's Singles Day.

Demand for foreign infant milk products has soared following a series of food scares in China, including a 2008 scandal over locally produced tainted that left six children dead and made more than 300,000 ill.

Simon Hansford, owner of producer Milk Powder Solutions said the strong Chinese demand reflected the quality of Australian produce, but also welcomed restrictions to protect local supply.

"The Chinese consumer, they are doing nothing illegal, they are actually supporting our dairy industry," he told commercial radio station 2GB.

"The Chinese consumer is very comfortable about buying Australian produce if it is coming from (Australian) supermarkets, they tend to look at the produce as a famous brand."

Explore further: Cancer-causing toxin found in Chinese baby formula

Related Stories

Cancer-causing toxin found in Chinese baby formula

July 23, 2012
A Chinese dairy has been ordered to suspend production after a cancer-causing toxin was found in its infant formula, China's quality watchdog said Monday, in the country's latest milk scare.

New Zealand botulism scare triggers global recall (Update)

August 3, 2013
New Zealand authorities have triggered a global recall of up to 1,000 tons of dairy products across seven countries after dairy giant Fonterra announced tests had turned up a type of bacteria that could cause botulism.

Recommended for you

Widespread declines in life expectancy across high income countries coincide with rising young adult, midlife mortality

August 15, 2018
The ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States is a key contributor to the most recent declines in life expectancy, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

Parental life span predicts daughters living to 90 without chronic disease or disability

August 15, 2018
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that women whose mothers lived to at least age 90 were more likely to also live to 90, free of serious diseases and disabilities.

Diets high in vegetables and fish may lower risk of multiple sclerosis

August 15, 2018
People who consume a diet high in vegetables and fish may have a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis, new research led by Curtin University has found.

Can sleeping too much lead to an early death?

August 15, 2018
A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association has led to headlines that will make you rethink your Saturday morning sleep in.

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol could enhance the negative effects of binge drinking

August 14, 2018
A key ingredient of energy drinks could be exacerbating some of the negative effects of binge drinking according to a new study.

New study finds fake, low-quality medicines prevalent in the developing world

August 10, 2018
A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that substandard and falsified medicines, including medicines to treat malaria, are a serious problem in much of the world. In low- and middle-income ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.