Baby formula will join razors and cigarettes behind the counter at some NSW supermarkets to ensure Australian parents have enough to feed their infants.
The move follows reports some formula brands worth between $25 and $35 for a 1kg tin are being bought in bulk and on-sold in China for a profit of up to $100 per item.
In recent years Aussie mums have turned to social media to express frustration over not being able to get the brands their babies like or need due to dietary issues.
There has been a spate of formula scares in China in recent years, leading Chinese parents to source safer overseas products.
Coles says tins of baby formula will now be kept on shelves behind service desks or tagged with ‘‘electronic article surveillance’’ lids in some stores.
‘‘Coles is committed to ensuring that our customers with a genuine need for infant formula have access to this product,’’ a company spokeswoman said.
However, Woolworths will not be following in Coles’ footsteps.
‘‘Baby formula remains available on the shelf for customers in Woolworths stores,’’ a Woolworths spokesman said.
‘‘We’re continuing to work with our suppliers to increase the supply of these essential family items.’’
Both Coles and Woolworths have a two-tin limit for customers.
Lactation experts have supported Coles’ move.
‘‘When breastfeeding isn’t adequate then our mothers here need access to formula — especially in emergencies,’’ Sydney lactation consultant Anne Scollon said.
The change is also supported by Lynne-McKensey Hall who specialises in helping mothers naturally breastfeed their babies. She says there are times when infants need to be bottle fed formula.
‘‘I appreciate mothers do need to use formula at times and I am thrilled to see that supply is being controlled,’’ she said.