Baby formula

Baby, or infant, formula is a manufactured food for babies often used as a substitute for breast milk. It is a powder or liquid concentrate that is mixed with water and fed through a bottle. It is widely used in Asia, which represents 53% of the global market share. In Hong Kong, a shortage in availability of baby formula led to restrictions on how much could be taken out of the city and into mainland China.

China to step up monitoring of foreign baby formula sold online

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Photo: Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang chaired a State Council meeting yesterday that addressed food safety issues associated with mainland-made dairy goods, the State Council said on its website.

Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

Dutch authorities probe China link to baby milk shortages

Much-in-demand powdered baby milk formula, made by German company Milupa. Photo: EPA

The Dutch government yesterday ordered an investigation into persistent shortages of certain brands of baby formula, blamed on networks of traffickers who ship milk powder to China where it is sold at premium prices.

8 May 2015 - 9:44am

Shenzhen customs: We won't crack down on 'moonlighting' baby formula smugglers

Travelers trade in formula milk at the mainland side of Lo Wu border checkpoint. Photo: Weibo/SCMP pictures

It was a relief for many newly mobilised baby formula traders when Shenzhen customs officers said on Thursday they would not crack down on "moonlighting smugglers”.

5 Apr 2013 - 12:03pm 1 comment

Chinese retailers pull suspect Hero baby formula from shelves

A woman shops for baby formula in Beijing. Photo: AFP

Retailers started pulling a brand of imported baby formula off shelves yesterday after a media report revealed that the Chinese distributor had repackaged the product in China and mixed it with expired milk powder.

29 Mar 2013 - 5:04am

Shares of local dairy-makers may win as rules force consumers to shop at home

A security guard enforces the new baby formula limits at Sheung Shui in Hong Kong. Photo: SCMP

The Netherlands is the latest country to limit infant formula purchases after some Dutch supermarkets found Chinese customers buying suspiciously large quantities of formula.

14 Mar 2013 - 3:43pm

In world's priciest luxury city, baby formula is most precious commodity

Hong Kong's limit on milk formula puts train travellers transporting goods under scrutiny. Photo: Felix Wong

Infant milk formula is a precious commodity 'kept under lock and key', and Hong Kong's budget woes.

29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

Beijing to ban online selling of milk powder

Online purchase of milk powder will be outlawed under Beijing's new regulations. Picture: SCMP

Online purchases of milk powder will be outlawed under Beijing’s revised stricter food safety regulations, the Beijing Evening News reported.

The new regulations will take effect from April 1.

27 Feb 2013 - 1:12pm

Infant formula row a reminder of the value of an open society

Two girls drink milk from Sanlu brand bottles while waiting to be checked for kidney stones at a children's hospital in Shenzhen. Photo: AP

The best way to understand the real lesson of the baby formula controversy is to go back to its origins, which explains why Hong Kong has to cling as tenaciously as possible to the "two systems" part of the "one country, two systems" arrangement.

16 Feb 2013 - 5:19am 4 comments

Milk ad control plan a formula for disagreement

Baby formula manufacturers may face advertising controls. Photo: Reuters

When it comes to the emotive breast-versus-bottle debate, most developed countries follow the World Health Organisation and Unicef's International Code on Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, drawn up in 1981.

17 Feb 2013 - 4:09pm

Health officials fail to emphasise importance of breastfeeding

Various brands of baby formula are all equally inferior to breast milk. Photo: David Wong

The baby formula saga rolls on, and as a public health researcher I have been waiting to see media coverage of someone from the Department of Health or the Food and Health Bureau pointing out three important facts.

7 Feb 2013 - 5:47am

Traders try to beat rule on baby formula with sachets

Travellers repackage cartons of baby formula outside Sheung Shui train station in an apparent attempt to evade the government's limits on the amount of the product they are allowed to take across the border. Photo: Nora Tam

Parallel-goods traders are already finding ways to dodge the two-tin limit on baby formula – weeks before the government is set to approve the new rule.

5 Feb 2013 - 12:14pm 6 comments

Crackdown on milk formula traders in the public interest

Cross-border travellers are to be limited to two cans of baby formula for personal use. Photo: David Wong

Hong Kong is a free port. Any interference in the market that risks that reputation is not to be undertaken lightly. But the government can count on public support for intervention to stem the re-export of imported infant milk formula to the mainland by parallel traders, which has seriously depleted local supplies and contributed to growing resentment of mainland tourists and shoppers.

2 Feb 2013 - 5:16am 1 comment

Let's become a baby formula hub

An influx of parallel traders in Hong Kong who purchase items tax-free such as baby milk formula is causing growing unrest with local residents. Photo: AFP

If every crisis presents an opportunity, then we should look on the continuing furore over the shortage of baby formula as a transformative moment. Forget about our official pie-in-the-sky schemes to turn the city into an arts hub or logistics centre, and this and that hub. Let's declare what we have already become: a baby formula hub.

29 Jan 2013 - 1:41am 6 comments

Doing what's best for baby - not milk formula companies

Illustration: Henry Wong

Health experts are unanimous in their verdict: breast milk is the best food to raise a healthy baby.

23 Jan 2013 - 4:39am 1 comment