Infant formula donations on social media illegal, warns Health Dept

Infant formula donations on social media illegal, warns Health Dept

The Department of Health is reminding people that calls for infant formula donations on social media are illegal. 

infant formula milk

It's added that the distribution of these products can only be handled by the provincial Departments of Health and not the public. 

Desperate parents turned to online platforms for help, after the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng led to an acute shortage of baby formula last week. 

Shops were looted and damaged and roads barricaded, preventing delivery vehicles from accessing certain routes.

The department has released a statement warning that it's against the law to ask for infant formula donations on social media. 

It says that because of the regulatory frameworks around the management of commercial infant formula - provincial departments are the ones that need to facilitate receipt of these donations. 

"Calls for infant formula donations and distribution on social media platforms is illegal. Government has regulatory frameworks for the management of commercial infant formula. It is therefore recommended that infant formula donations should be made through the provincial Departments of Health," National Department of Health spokesperson Popo Maja said. 

READ: Cold front expected for KZN, SA Weather Service warns

Donors will then be directed to the district health personnel for support. 

The department has also condemned homemade infant formula recipes shared on social media. 

It says these mixtures could make babies sick, as they might contain too little or too many nutrients.

"The Department does not support the use of homemade infant formula because it can harm infants. These homemade infant formula recipes might not contain enough or too much of some nutrients and put infants at risk of getting sick and causing diarrhoea. 

"We, therefore, urge mothers who are not breastfeeding their babies, not to use these recipes or any other unsuitable products such as coffee or tea creamers, tea with/without sugar or condensed milk.


"The Department calls upon all stakeholders to refrain from and stop posting and sharing misinformation around the calls for commercial infant formula donation and infant feeding that undermines breastfeeding. The Government would like to remind stakeholders that, by law, no person may promote infant formula."

New Newswatch podcast banner yellow

Show's Stories