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Australian baby formula stripped off the shelf and stored behind the counter at Coles and Woolworths

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Woolworths joins Coles in storing baby formula next to cigarettes and in locked storeroom cages in a bid to stop Chinese raiders from clearing shelves and selling overseas for profit

The baby formula war is heating up as Woolworths and Coles move the product behind the counter and lock it away with cigarettes to stop raiders buying it and selling for a huge profit in China.

Australian mothers have been left furious after not being able to find baby formula due to daigou, or Chinese buyers, clearing the shelves and selling it for a profit online overseas.

So enormous is the demand for baby formula that supermarket giants have this week taken drastic measures to ensure Australian mothers are not left without.

'Attention customers, A2 and Aptamil Gold Baby Formula is located at the service desk,' a sign at Woolworths said 

‘Attention customers, A2 and Aptamil Gold Baby Formula is located at the service desk,’ a sign at Woolworths said 

After imposing a two-can limit per customer, Coles and Woolworths’ customers were this week greeted with signs saying popular brands A2 and Aptamil were no longer on the shelves.

‘Attention customers, A2 and Aptamil Gold Baby Formula is located at the service desk,’ a sign at Woolworths said.

Similar to Woolworths, a sign at Coles read: ‘Popular lines of baby formula will now be available from the service kiosk to provide equal opportunity for all customers and deter theft’.

Coles said a limit of two cans per customer still applied.

At supermarkets in Ryde and Lane Cove, Sydney, signs were written in both English and Mandarin so Chinese buyers would understand why the tins were no longer on the shelf.  

Coles confirmed to Daily Mail Australia it had limited baby food quantities to ‘two units per customer’ as Chinese customers continued to buy the product in bulk so it could be sold in China at inflated prices. 

A Coles store has taken baby formula off the shelves to stop Chinese shoppers cleaning out stock to sell it on, according to an image (pictured) posted online

A Coles store has taken baby formula off the shelves to stop Chinese shoppers cleaning out stock to sell it on, according to an image (pictured) posted online

‘Coles is committed to ensuring that our customers with a genuine need for infant formula have access to this product,’ a supermarket spokeswoman said on Monday.

‘To make sure we have formula available for customers, in some stores we are keeping infant formula behind the service desk or using specially designed electronic article surveillance lids that can only be removed at the register.’ 

Shoppers have been slammed in recent months for buying the baby formula to sell for a profit online in China, where there have been a series of quality control problems with baby food.

So enormous is the demand from China for Australian-made baby formula that Aptamil increased the production of its formula by 50 per cent in just three months.

Many major supermarkets have had to set a limit per customer – but crowds of Asian shoppers reportedly go through the checkout and return to buy more tins of the product.

Shoppers have been slammed in recent months for buying bulk numbers of the baby formula to sell for a profit online to China, leaving local customers who need the baby formula without

Dozens of photos and videos have emerged showing Chinese shoppers cleaning out entire supermarkets of baby formula tins some in coordinated efforts

Dozens of photos and videos have emerged showing Chinese shoppers cleaning out entire supermarkets of baby formula tins some in coordinated efforts

Dozens of photos and videos have emerged showing Chinese shoppers cleaning out entire supermarkets of baby formula tins.

Some filled multiple trolleys, stacked their car boots or ute trays, or waited outside for shops to open so they could get every last tin.

Coles and Woolworths responded by imposing a two-tin limit, but it was easy to get around by going back for repeated transactions or just going to Costco.

There are 80,000 daigou – or ‘personal shoppers’ – in Australia, many making upwards of $100,000 a year.

Daigou shoppers resell the products through social media sites such as WeChat and Weibo and through online shopping sites. 

Many major supermarkets have had to set a limit per customer – but crowds of Asian shoppers reportedly go through the checkout and return to buy more tins of the product 

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