News / Asia

Chinese Buyers Put Squeeze on Australian Baby Food Supplies

Two-hour old daughter of 17-year old Nakor is fed by a nurse at a hospital in Chiang Mai's Fang district October 2, 2012.
Two-hour old daughter of 17-year old Nakor is fed by a nurse at a hospital in Chiang Mai's Fang district October 2, 2012.
Phil Mercer
A surge in demand has forced supermarkets and chemists in Australia to ration sales of a popular brand of baby formula as Chinese customers try to buy in bulk.  Many shops are running low on supplies of Karicare following a surge in demand.

Pharmacists say Chinese migrants and tourists are desperate to buy the infant food following a milk safety scandal that killed six children in China in 2008.

Some retailers in Australia are limiting the number of Karicare tins that customers can buy as supplies in parts of the country dry up.

A spike in sales is in large part because of Chinese migrants in Australia and tourists, who have been stockpiling the popular baby formula to send home or to sell online.

Pharmacists in Sydney say that some visitors have often bought as many containers as they can cram into their luggage to take back to China.

Sarah Rooes, a retail manager with a city center chemist, says there has been strong demand among her Chinese customers.

“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.  They do get frustrated.  Like, before what we used to do, we’d do customer orders for it," Rooes said. "But, now we are unable to order.  All I can say to them is, look, just keep coming in every week, keep trying, see how you go, like, we may get some more stock in.”       

Many Chinese people are suspicious of domestically produced baby formula following a poisoning scandal in 2008.  Six children died and 300,000 others fell ill after drinking supplies tainted with an industrial chemical.

The tragedy has had a lasting effect with many parents in China seeking formula overseas.

The supplier of Karicare says that demand in Asia for Australian and New Zealand baby products had risen sharply since China’s food scare.

The company says it is hoping to increase production by 50 percent in the next year.

Australia does not import infant formula products from China because of strict quarantine regulations, but trade going the other way is likely to increase as Asia’s booming middle classes look abroad for reliable and safe supplies for their children.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs