Chinese customers stockpile Australian baby formula

Supermarkets and pharmacies in Australia are reporting a shortage of the baby formula Karicare. It turns out Chinese customers are stockpiling the formula.

Many Chinese are suspicious of domestically produced baby formula following a safety scandal in 2008. Six children died and thousands fell ill after formula and other milk products were found to be tainted with an industrial chemical.

The supplier of Karicare says, since then, demand in Asia for Australian and New Zealand baby products has spiked.

Sarah Rooes, a retail manager with a pharmacy in Sydney, says her local Chinese customers are snapping up what product there is.

"They'll come in and they'll buy a whole heap of them. I think they just buy bulk for family and that sort of stuff, and to send overseas and that sort of thing.”

Pharmacists say some visitors heading back to China are cramming as many containers as they can into their luggage. Now some retailers in Australia are limiting the number of Karicare tins that customers can buy as inventory in parts of the country runs low.

The supplier says it’s hoping to increase production by 50 percent over the next year.

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