Baby formula will join razors and cigarettes behind the counter at some NSW supermarkets to ensure Australian parents have enough to feed their infants.
The move follows reports some formula brands worth $25 to $35 for a one-kilogram tin are being bought in bulk and on-sold in China for a profit of up to $100 per item.
A Brisbane mum has complained that she has seen groups of up to eight people strip baby formula from Woolworths and Coles supermarket shelves.
Newscorp reported that Jessica Hook, 27, took photos of people emptying Brisbane shelves.
She said she spent about two hours a week travelling to different supermarkets to find Aptamil Gold, the brand of formula she needed for her eight-month-old daughter.
Aussie mums have been active on social media, complaining about not being able to get the brands their babies like or need due to dietary issues.
There's been a spate of formula scares in China leading to Chinese parents sourcing safer overseas products.
Coles says tins of baby formula will now be kept on shelves behind service desks or tagged with electronic article surveillance lids in some stores, a spokeswoman for the supermarket chain said.
“Coles is committed to ensuring that our customers with a genuine need for infant formula have access to this product,” she said.
A Woolworths spokesman said: “Baby formula remains available on the shelf for customers in Woolworths stores.
“We're continuing to work with our suppliers to increase the supply of these essential family items.”
Coles and Woolworths have a two-tin limit for customers.
Lactation experts have supported Coles' move.
“When breastfeeding isn't adequate then our mothers here need access to formula especially in emergencies,” said Sydney lactation consultant Anne Scollon.
The change is also supported by Lynne-McKensey Hall who specialises in helping mothers naturally breastfeed their babies.
She said there were times when infants needed to be bottle fed formula.
“I appreciate mothers do need to use formula at times and I am thrilled to see that supply is being controlled," Ms Hall said.