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Baby Formula Rationed In UK Over China Demand

(c) Sky News 2013

Supermarkets in the UK are rationing infant formula due to rising demand in China for foreign-made baby milk.

Danone (Paris: FR0000120644 - news) , the maker of the Aptamil and Cow & Gate brands, said a limit of two packs per transaction had been adopted by retailers "as a precautionary measure to prevent some individuals from bulk buying baby milk formula from retail outlets for commercial purposes".

In a statement, the company added: "We understand that the increased demand is being fuelled by unofficial exports to China to satisfy the needs of parents who want Western brands."

Last month, the Chinese government said nearly 300,000 children had been poisoned by tainted milk products and that six children had died since 2008.

Supermarkets Asda, Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY.L - news) 's, Tesco (Other OTC: TSCDY - news) and Morrisons said the purchase of certain brands would be limited to two units per customer per day.

The scandal in China has led to an increase in demand for imported baby milk, while raising safety fears around the world.

Chinese-made dairy products were banned or recalled from supermarket shelves in several countries.

In February, officials in Hong Kong imposed limits on the amount of formula travellers can bring back to China.

Danone has apologised to British parents for any inconvenience and said it was taking measures, including increasing production of milk, as a result of the situation.

The company also said it would increase supply in China, where many of its brands are available, to meet the rising demand in that market.

Some retail experts believe the baby milk limit is good for British consumers.

The British Retail Consortium director-general Helen Dickinson told Sky News: "I think what we're seeing here is a responsible measure just to make sure milk is available to their typical customers in the UK,  and that is exactly what they've done."

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