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Formula milk powder shortage - has is affected you?

(27 Posts)
JaneGMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Apr-13 13:08:44

Hi all,

We've been asked by a number of broadcasters about reports of a worldwide shortage of baby milk powder, due to high demand in China for foreign-made baby milk, following baby milk safety scandals there back in 2008.

Reportedly, some UK supermarkets have been limiting customers to purchasing one pack of formula powder per person.

Have you experienced this?

As ever, we'd love to hear your thoughts.


TheTiger Mon 08-Apr-13 13:12:03

Yes, cow & gate comfort was impossible to get hold of recently. Shelves were empty everywhere I looked!

nethunsreject Mon 08-Apr-13 13:13:30

Are Baby Milk Action onto it yet?

It's absolutely shitty of the companies.

Shows they are all about maximum profitability.

MrsAceRimmer Mon 08-Apr-13 13:13:55

The supermarket I work on will be limiting customers to 2 tins at a time. The memo went round last week, but only lists 'supplier issues' as the reason.

tethersend Mon 08-Apr-13 13:21:38

I was absolutely stuck until the lovely rootypig off of on here gave me a box of aptamil comfort.

Is it still happening? Thought it was all sorted...

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 08-Apr-13 13:23:04

It is disgusting.

They have families over a barrel with this. There will be price rises to follow, I am sure.

Anyone thinking of switching to formula? Don't give up your free and abundant milk supply of breast milk just yet.

Pamsie Mon 08-Apr-13 13:28:28

Yes, Cow and Gate growing up milk! I couldn't find any at Boots or Asda last week and could only get the last one on the shelf at Superdrug.

LiftWantedAroundTheWorld Mon 08-Apr-13 13:31:33

The shortage of the 'comfort' milks a while back was different - that was due to a shortage of the thickening agent used in the manufacture.

This shortage is to do with British formula being bought up for export to China because parents there don't trust the local formula (remember the melamine poisoning where hundreds of babies died?). So supply is being restricted to customers here to prevent illegal exportation.

FairyJen Mon 08-Apr-13 13:38:53

Yes! Aptamil first milk, I've been having to buy it off eBay!

Beveridge Mon 08-Apr-13 13:44:02

Anyone know how UK law relates to selling formula on ebay/online? Since price promotions are illegal for first stage formula, selling it to the highest bidder(as I've seen) must contravene something?

FairyJen Mon 08-Apr-13 13:45:57

I get buy it now pack of 4 tubs for £35 which I think is about right price wise?

At the end of the day I have no choice I need to feed ds

JaneGMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Apr-13 13:48:48


To be a little clearer (and I'll update my OP accordingly), the supermarket rationing of infant formula is due to high demand in China for foreign-made baby milk, following baby milk safety scandals there back in 2008. LiftWantedAroundTheWorld has hit the nail on the head.

Thanks again for your comments, and we look forward to hearing more


Florin Mon 08-Apr-13 14:02:06

My baby is 9 months old and on the aptamil anti reflux milk as he still has awful reflux. Often boots have run out of his milk as they only stock 2 tubs at a time but they have regular deliveries so I wasn't worried the first time I saw they didn't have any. I went back the next day and the next and still none. After phoning every boots and chemists in the area and my husband scouring London for it we started to panic. We phoned Aptimal and they said there was a shortage and we wouldn't find it anywhere however they also make cow and gate and that anti reflux was the same. It is definitely not for one the instructions for making it up are different. We bought a tub of the Cow and Gate anti reflux and when the last of the Aptimal was gone we tried it. It didn't stop his reflux so we were having to give him milk that we knew was going to make him sick which was heartbreaking I was beside myself about it as I felt it was my fault that I was making my little boy ill. Thankfully I have the most wonderful group of friends a Mum could ever ask for who I met on a Mumsnet thread as we were all were due in June 2012. We have a little private Facebook page which we chat on so I explained the predicament and they all checked all their local stores and thankfully one found 3 or 4 tubs and bought them for me and then met me in London to hand them over. I have never been so relieved.
The same thing happened a month or so back but luckily as my ds in now on three meals a day the supply we had didn't run out so fast and my dh managed to find a tub in the city.

I think if you provide a specialist milk you have a duty to make sure there is a constant stock. It is not like you are buying chopped tomatoes or something and if they have run out of your usual brand you just buy a different brand. With the milk because they ran out it made my baby ill which I think is completely unacceptable.

ItsallisnowaFeegle Mon 08-Apr-13 14:05:52

We were unable to buy Aptimil for our LO last week in two of the big supermarkets. We had to buy the ready made cartons instead.

salcz Mon 08-Apr-13 14:18:49

Around Christmas everywhere round here ran out of Cow and Gate 1st milk. we're always a tub or 2 ahead but we ran out despite this and had to get hungry bsby milk as ds wasn't quite 6 months and mw and hv told us not to switch brand in the past. This resulted in ready mixed, hungry baby and other brands running out as people were panic buying. Our Sainsburys now have a limit of 6 boxes.

Babybeesmama Mon 08-Apr-13 14:27:43

Aptamil first milk was not available on my last online asda shop! confused

Badvoc Mon 08-Apr-13 14:29:24

It's to prevent people selling it to china on e bay etc at vast profit.

Gemd81 Mon 08-Apr-13 14:52:36

Bit annoyed unable to get aptamil 1+ milk my lo hates cows milk so she keeps waking up in the night as unsettledhmm gggrrrrr!!!!

TheFallenNinja Mon 08-Apr-13 15:01:15

We are basically the two ply, kitten soft arse wiping country by these multinationals. They shit on us and our body politic meekly says thanks.

It's like frickin Russia.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 08-Apr-13 15:16:20

The formula makers are only doing this to protect a perceived threat to their profit margins.

This is why all advertising, even of follow on milks, should be banned and formula should be sold unbranded at cost.

These companies do not care about their customers, only about their profits.

FairyJen Mon 08-Apr-13 15:42:23

Maybe we should start a formula swapping thread? There is loads of the 1+ milk in my area but not the first milk...

skratta Mon 08-Apr-13 16:28:42

Per person as in per buyer? Surely it's easier to get around this rule (buying from other shops, sending in your partner? Even sending in a friend who you gave the money to)

And what about multiples? Twins, triplets? Twins especially arent exactly rare.

FreddieMercurysBolero Mon 08-Apr-13 17:22:38

This is scary - is it just in the UK? Does anyone have any links please? Thinking about changing from BF to formula - and I probably will have to if I can find a job...

Vix0809 Mon 08-Apr-13 21:00:23

It's been hard to get Aptamil first milk in our area for months now. I complained to Waitrose, the only supermarket within 10 miles of where I live in January and they said it was due to an ingredient shortage which they said they expected to continue until the summer. I replied and said I thought this only affected the comfort milk but haven't had a reply to date. That week they put a note on the shelf saying customers were restricted to 6 packs of any milk, not that I've ever known them have 6 packs in stock anyway. I think it's disgusting that Danone have allowed this to occur, baby milk isn't something we can do without and surely they knew customers weren't able to get hold of it easily? How hard can it be to up production to meet demand? Think it's more a case of them maximising profits by selling more expensively overseas. Also blame Waitrose in my area for not wanting to hold too much stock and tie up their cash. As I said to them Aptamil is what was recommended to me by midwives and health visitors in my town when I couldn't breast feed my baby they should be more aware of local demand.

redandwhitesprinkles Mon 08-Apr-13 21:08:03

I have not been 'struggling' but boots in west London have been short of aptamil 1 and 3 (I moved to 3 simply to collect points). Have been mixing 1 and 3 depending what I could get. No problems in Tesco until the past 2 weeks or so.

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