Exports of infant formula

It’s getting tougher and tougher out there for mums to get their hands on the infant formula that their child needs. The demand for formula in China has seen shelves in supermarkets across Australia be stripped of products, making new mums a lot more tense than they already are.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Quarantine) have recently released this statement regarding the issue:

Statement: Exports of infant formula to China


​ The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources understands that the community may have concerns about shortages of infant formula on Australian supermarket shelves.

The department understands supermarkets are taking measures to make sure adequate stock of infant formula are available and have been talking to their suppliers. These are commercial arrangements between retailers and the manufacturers of infant formula.

​The role of this department is to ensure goods exported comply with the Export Control Act 1982, meet foreign government requirements, are safe and accurately described.

The penalty for failing to comply with the conditions of export orders—including exporting a prescribed dairy product without an export permit and sourcing from an unregistered establishment—is up to 12 months imprisonment. If the exporter also provides false information to an authorised officer the penalty is up to 5 years imprisonment.


Exports of Australian-made infant formula to China that are over 10 kg (or 10 L liquid) must be sourced from registered export establishments and export documentation is only provided where export consignments comply with China’s requirements.

The Export Control Act 1982 does not apply to product that is legally imported into Australia then re-exported without further processing or repackaging.

With the majority of the exporting to China being carried out on the down low, we’re pretty sure that no-one is obtaining export orders for these shipments.