White House petitioned to provide HK infant formula shortage ‘assistance’

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

US petitioned to provide HK infant formula shortage ‘assistance’

Related tags Hong kong Milk

More than 13,000 people have so far petitioned US President Barack Obama to provide Hong Kong with “international support” to help turnaround a current shortage of infant formula.

The petition, Baby Hunger Outbreak in Hong Kong, International Aid Requested,​ was posted on the White House website on 29 January 2013. As of 1pm Central European Time (CET) today, the petition had been signed 13,699 times.

The petition has until 28 February 2013 to reach the 100,000 mark – at which point it will receive a response from the White House.

Chinese traders have been blamed for the shortage. According to reports from the region, people from the Chinese mainland have been buying infant formula in large quantities in Hong Kong before smuggling it back on to the mainland to sell at inflated prices.

Hong Kong infant formula is popular among Chinese consumers due to continued concerns about the safety of domestically-manufactured milk powder.

In 2008, six children died and nearly 300,000 people across China were sickened after consuming milk powder tainted with melamine. The country’s dairy industry has since suffered as a result of similar safety scandals.

Hong Kong babies facing “malnutrition”

The petition claims that babies in Hong Kong face malnutrition “very soon” ​if something is not done to alleviate the current shortage.

“Local parents in Hong Kong can hardly buy baby formula milk powder in drugstores and supermarkets, as smugglers from mainland China storm to this tony city to buy milk powder and resell for huge profits in China. Many retailers stockpiled milk powder and are reluctant to sell to local parents as the shops can sell their stocks in big cartons to mainland smugglers for huge profits,” ​said the petition.

“Countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand exercise rationed sale to tourist buyers from China for milk powder but the Hong Kong government simply frame the situation as a matter of free trade and refuse to exercise law which is already there to stop cross-border smuggling.”

“We request international support and assistance as babies in Hong Kong will face malnutrition very soon,” ​it added.

The petition is thought to have been an attempt to embarrass the special administrative region (SAR) government.

Infant formula ‘reserved commodity’ status

According to reports from Hong Kong, the government is considering whether to protect infant formula as a ‘reserved commodity’.

Speaking this week, the Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man revealed that the government was examining the feasibility of adding infant formula to the Reserved Commodities Ordinance - which controls imports and exports to ensure a stable supply for Hong Kong residents.

Rice – a staple in the Hong Kong – is currently the only ‘reserved commodity’ under the region’s Reserved Commodities Ordinance.

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The Bigger issue

Posted by Maria Parlapiano,

Is anyone willing to step up for babies in this world and look at the real travesty? The fact that no one breastfeeds anymore. How about encouraging and supporting breastfeeding so the dependancy on formula does not exist? The babies would surely not face malnutrition if their mothers nursed them. Oh but there's no money in that, is there?! I feel sorry for babies when their vital food source is discarded and thought to be meaningless! I feel sorry for the mothers as well who are sabotaged purposely in their attempts to breastfeed so someone can make money on the other end. Shameful - and what do their babies get to eat, at such a high cost? Corn syrup & vegetable oil - yeah, that's healthy nutrition- NOT! Chinese mothers, you do not need the government -you can save your children-breastfeed!

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an update for the petition to President Obama

Posted by Hong Konger,

As of today, there are already 20,000 signagures but we definitely need more signup from all people over the world.

The Hong Kong government's measure does not help at all for smuggling prevention, the limit of 2 tins for mainland tourists will only be effective by the end of February.

We need more attention and help please.

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Hong Kongers need help

Posted by Jimmy Wong,

The smugglers activities have been existed for many years and has recently been worsened. With the angry voices the SAR government is pretending working on some measurements, but, I must tell you ineffective and inefficient. We seek your sign up in the White House petition and we need 100,000 signatures.

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