By The Editors
Chinese families — aware of the dangers posed by baby formula contaminated with melamine and other harmful substances — prefer to buy brands produced and sold in other countries. That is, if they can afford it. Many can.
The increasing demand from Chinese families has resulted in the current global shortages and subsequent imposed limits on purchases. In January, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority started to investigate the online trade in China of Kiwi-made baby formula. At about the same time, Woolworths – a chain of Australian supermarkets – limited sales of all baby formula to four tins per transaction. And, in February, the Hong Kong’s government set limits on cross-border trading of baby formula. Among other restrictions, visitors are allowed to take not more than two tins of milk powder when they leave the city. The goal is to ensure there is enough baby formula in the stores to meet the needs of local mothers. Since then, “milk smugglers” have topped heroin courier arrests in Hong Kong.
Limits are now in place in the UK and in Germany. In addition to setting limits on purchases, what else can be done to ease the shortage? In Germany, a spokesman for Milupa told the Associated Press that the company has hired more workers at its plant in southwestern Germany and expanded its 24-hour telephone hotline, which parents can call if they can’t find enough formula in their local stores.
More demand means more business opportunities related to the baby formula market – it must be “clean” baby formula, though.