Australia, NZ running short of baby formula brand as tourists swoop

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A popular brand of baby formula, Karicare, is reportedly in short supply in Australia and New Zealand, with Chinese visitors and other foreign tourists buying large stocks to take home.

Aljazeerareports that Nutricia, the formula manufacturer, has quadrupled production in the past year to meet the demand. Its reporter in Sydney notes that “The Chinese want Australian baby milk formula because they frankly don’t trust their own. Back in 2008, there was a scandal with industrial chemicals in baby milk formula that killed six children; a further 300,000 fell ill. So with increasing numbers of Chinese visitors coming to Australia on holiday, they are taking advantage of buying up the baby milk formula here and taking it back home in bulk with them.”

News.com in Australia reports that “Some frustrated new parents are being forced to visit multiple supermarkets and pharmacies to search fruitlessly for the products and face the prospect of upsetting their baby by changing brands.”

The New Zealand Herlald says the buying-out is not just tourists, but bulk buying for export. “Auckland supermarkets are selling baby milk formula to Chinese exporters thousands of cans at a time while rationing them to other shoppers. This bulk trade has been unknown to export authorities and has now sparked an investigation.” One such sale involved more than 5,000 cans of the formula. More than one brand is involved.