People in S'pore apparently stealing baby formula, 2 FairPrice stores erect plastic barriers on shelves

Steal and sell.

Belmont Lay | Ruth Chai | January 20, 2023, 12:47 PM

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People in Singapore have been stealing baby formula often enough to the extent retailers are fighting back.

At least two NTUC FairPrice stores here have put up plastic barriers across shelves to prevent infant formula from being shoplifted.

The anti-theft screens are currently found at the Bukit Batok MRT NTUC FairPrice and the outlet at Boon Lay Shopping Centre.

It is unclear how many outlets have implemented this measure.

Photos circulating on social media this past week showed a FairPrice outlet having installed plastic screens across shelves filled with baby formula.

Mothership was informed by a FairPrice spokesperson that the outlet identified was the store located at Bukit Batok MRT.

A Mothership reader also submitted photos showing that the FairPrice outlet at Boon Lay Shopping Centre was also trialling this measure.

via Chelsea Ang

On FairPrice's website, prices of milk powder range from S$22.60 to S$113.35.

Get staff assistance

In the wake of this anti-theft measure being put up, consumers have to get supermarket staff to assist in unlocking the plastic screens.

The plastic screens were also seen at the section for selected beauty products.

A spokesperson for NTUC FairPrice said the initiative is new and meant "to prevent pilferage of infant formula".

Infant formula is a common item that is typically shoplifted, the spokesperson added.

"This trial started two weeks ago and we continue to assess the feasibility of continuing or extending this initiative," the spokesperson said, referring to the measure at the Bukit Batok MRT outlet.

Other security measures, such as close-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras on site and plainclothes security officers to deter shoplifting, are currently in place, it was also revealed.

Signs have been put up to inform customers to approach staff if they required assistance.

Some of the shelves also carried notices warning against shoplifting.

More eyes on baby formula

There also appears to be greater surveillance to watch over formula milk powder in stores.

CNA reported that the Sheng Siong Supermarket at Jurong West Street 42 had at least two CCTV cameras facing the shelves containing formula milk.

A Sheng Siong spokesperson said: "We do encounter theft cases involving milk powder in our stores."

The FairPrice outlet at Jalan Kayu had its baby formula placed directly in front of cashier counters.

They were not at the indicated aisle in the supermarket.

Past cases

In 2018, a man was jailed one week for stealing 22 tins of milk powder worth more than S$1,500 and selling the items online to pay off gambling debts, The Straits Times reported.

In 2017, a 34-year-old man was jailed four months for stealing S$10,600 worth of milk powder from supermarkets to sell.

That year, a woman was jailed four months for stealing 80 tins of milk powder worth about S$5,700 to resell, Yahoo News reported.

All photos via Chelsea Ang