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Desperate dad snaps photos to show why he can’t buy baby formula

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Three-tonne pallet loads of baby formula sit on the tarmac at Sydney Airport ready to be loaded onto a plane and flown to Hong Kong.

The precious cargo infuriated Sydney dad and airport worker Steve.

Three-tonne pallet loads of baby formula sit on the tarmac at Sydney Airport ready to be loaded onto a plane and flown to Hong Kong.

Photos showing the massive load of cargo were taken by Sydney dad and airport worker Steve, who says he was infuriated by the sight because of his struggles to get hold of the formula his six-month-old daughter needs.

The pallets contained various premium brands of baby formula including A2 Platinum Toddler Milk and the same type Steve's daughter takes - S26 Gold Progress, he said.

"I was very shocked to see all of those pallets leaving the country," Steve said, who took the photos on Monday.

"Last night my wife went to 17 different supermarkets to find just one tin of baby formula so we can feed our child. She came back crying, saying there is none," he said.

"A manager of a supermarket told my wife, 'Well I'm sorry but you should have stocked up before.'"

The shipment was due to be air freighted to Hong Kong.The pallet loads contained a2 Platinum Toddler Milk as well as other brands of baby formula.

Steve said while he had experienced trouble getting hold of the type of formula his baby daughter needed in the past, the task had gotten tougher amid panic buying from shoppers because of the coronavirus epidemic.

With Coles and Woolworths suspending online deliveries, Steve said he feared the situation would get even worse.

Switching his daughter to a different formula that was more readily available had proved unsuccessful, Steve said.

"We actually did try to go onto a different formula and literally no, she did not want any of it. She was crying, she wasn't feeding."

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Baby formula is popular among "daigou", or personal shoppers, who buy up premium products in Australia and on-sell them in China for higher prices.

Supermarkets and some pharmacies introduced limits to how many tins of customers can buy in 2018 amid scenes being filmed of shoppers stripping baby formula from shelves.

An empty shelf of a2 Premium Toddler Milk at the Woolworths store in Thornleigh, Sydney this week.

Currently both Coles and Woolworths have kept the same limits of two tins per customer in place as supermarkets continue to be picked bare of essential groceries items across the country.

Searches online by for stock availability of a2 Platinum Toddler Milk showed areas of Sydney where stores are sold out, while other locations appeared to have some in supply. It was a similar situation for tins of S26 Gold Progress formula.

Both formulas were listed as out of stock at Chemist Warehouse for online orders.

Lactalis, who distribute S26 baby formulas, have been contacted by for comment.

The S26 Gold Progress formula is out of stock at Chemist Warehouse's online store.

Peter Nathan, a2 Milk Company's Asia Pacific CEO, said the supply chain for its infant formulas had not been disrupted by the coronavirus.

"We certainly have very strong supplies in this point in time to provide to the local market," he said.

Mr Nathan said the best way for parents to get hold of their infant formula if they were having trouble was via a2 Milk Company's online store.

"Demand for our product has always been very strong across the board. However, for any local mum or dad who wants to buy our infant formula we guarantee if they shop via our online store, we guarantee supply within 24-48 hours," Mr Nathan said.

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Mr Nathan said demand for a2 Milk Company's infant formulas appeared to have peaked about a month ago when the coronavirus situation in China was at its worst.

"Demand is still strong but it's not as strong as what it was now the situation with China has improved," he said.

Contact reporter Emily McPherson at

Source: 9News

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