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Chinese scramble for milk formula goes international

Hong Kong parents who feed their babies formula have more to worry about than just the products’ health effects – they find themselves in a battle with mainland Chinese visitors just to buy it.

Shortages are common, especially during national holidays, when visitors often arrive. The problem arose in 2008 after melamine, an industrial chemical, was added to mainland milk supplies. That poisoning left at least six children dead and hundreds of thousands ill. The competition for formula has become a major source of tension between Hongkongers and mainlanders.

Recent reports suggested the problem had spread internationally – with newspapers as far afield as Germany and Australia reporting that Chinese buyers had cleared shop shelves of baby formula.

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