SA Government Must Act to Stop Those Cashing In on Infant Formula Shortages

Greens’ consumer affairs spokesperson Tammy Franks MLC has called on the Minister for Business Services and Consumers to work to prevent people from making quick cash at the expense of fellow South Australians’ food security by supporting retailers in managing baby formula shortages and working with online retailer platforms such as eBay.

Ms Franks put questions to the Minister for Business Services and Consumers during Question Time today, which the Government has taken on notice.

“After a number of deadly formula scares in China fearful parents there are turning to baby formula products sourced from Australia,” Ms Franks said.

“A cursory glance at the baby formula products available from South Australian sellers on eBay and marketed with item descriptions for example, in both English and Mandarin, shows that there are some in our state who see this as an opportunity to make a quick profit at the expense of the security of basic food supply for their fellow South Australians.

“I welcome and commend supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths imposing tighter buying bans on baby formula amid a shortage blamed on Chinese consumers. Last week, Coles was limiting customers to four tins each, and Woolworths to eight, but yesterday those restrictions had further tightened, with Coles now allowing only two tins per customer, and Woolworths four across all brands.

“However, even this is not enough. Multiple purchases at multiple times or locations and bulk buys of two of each tin of a differing brand is still possible.

“The State Government can and must urgently act to support local retailers and families who are fearful they may literally run out of food to feed their infants.

“The Minister can provide surety to scared parents by announcing state restrictions that will prohibit the onsellers of infant formula from using online platforms such as eBay. Sites such as eBay have at times been willing to restrict the onselling of tickets and could similarly place restrictions on other items such as infant formula,” she concluded.

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