STASH: Gayle McDonald submitted this photo of a man stocking up on baby formula.
STASH: Gayle McDonald submitted this photo of a man stocking up on baby formula. contributed

Baby formula black market hits Bundy

GAYLE McDonald couldn't believe her eyes when she saw a car full of baby formula at a busy Bundaberg shopping centre.

Ms McDonald said she was driving through the Stockland carpark when the unusual sight took her eye.

"This guy was walking to his car and I could see his boot was completely stocked up with baby formula," she said.

"They would've had to have been at least two tins high because of the height of the window on the car.

"And you can see from the photo that all the lids are the purple A2, which is the premium kind."

Ms McDonald said another local had seen a similar sight at the north Bundaberg IGA.

"This guy had just walked out of Big W with the formula, and another person said they had seen him in Chemist Warehouse buying formula earlier that day as well," she said.

Ms McDonald alerted Big W to the situation she had witnessed and was assured it would be followed up with Stockland centre management today.

"They're going to speak with Priceline, Blooms, Coles and Woolworths and they're also going to check the security footage to see just how many different stores he's visited," she said.

"This is an Australia and New Zealand-wide problem and I want to know, why aren't they banning export on baby formula?

"Customs need to (do something about it) because if these people can't export it and make their profits then they're not going to do it.

"These people are totally ripping off the companies as well - it's illegal to buy something for $26 and then sell it on for $300."

Ms McDonald couldn't believe the level of immorality involved.

"He was even parked in a disabled car park. He just didn't care," she said.

"I don't have to worry about feeding formula to my kids anymore, but other mothers do.

"There's only a certain number of tins available in town and it can take some time for deliveries to get to Bundaberg.

"Even if this is only just the beginning of a bigger issue, it takes days to get formula in here and if we run out, it'll take days to get it back in.

"Now they're ripping of Chinese families that can't get good formula with ridiculous prices.

"They've obviously got a market and they're making huge amounts of money from it.

"Maybe A2 need to redirect their export arrangements."

The bulk-purchase and consequent export of powdered milk has been a long-standing issue across the nation, but Ms McDonald didn't expect to see it here in her own back yard.

"This is becoming a consumer problem for Australian babies," she said.

"I didn't expect to see it here. Maybe in the big cities, but not in the small regional towns.

"So many women are saying they've been having problems with buying formula, and then these people are on eBay selling it for up to $300 per tin - and this is boot-loads of formula. It's really getting ridiculous."

The mother-of-six said she had to formula-feed five of her children simply because she wasn't able to breastfeed until her sixth, and couldn't imagine the feeling of not being able to buy food to sustain her children's lives.

"Sometimes I had to buy travel saches of formula which was annoying, but some of these mums just can't buy the formula their baby needs," she said.

"And you can't just switch formulas on a baby, it doesn't work that way.

"So many mums have had that struggle of not being able to get formula... so what's being done about it?"

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