Bukit Batok NTUC FairPrice outlet locks up baby formula milk in trial to deter shoplifting

A locked display of formula milk powder is seen at an NTUC FairPrice outlet in Bukit Batok Central on Jan 19, 2023. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

SINGAPORE - An NTUC FairPrice outlet in Bukit Batok has begun locking up milk powder as part of its measures to counter shoplifting.

The local supermarket chain’s outlet at Bukit Batok MRT launched this initiative two weeks ago as a trial to deter shoplifters, as this is an item that is typically stolen, said a FairPrice spokesman in response to The Straits Times’ queries on Wednesday.

“This initiative complements various other security measures we have in place, including close-circuit TV cameras and plain-clothes security officers, to deter the criminal act of shoplifting,” said the spokesman, adding that the supermarket chain will continue to assess whether to continue or extend the move.

Twitter user Shawn Lim had tweeted on Tuesday a picture of milk powder being kept behind locked transparent plastic screens on supermarket shelves.

Consumers who want to buy the milk powder have to approach the outlet’s staff to unlock the screens.

Baby milk powder can cost as low as $22.60 for a 900g tin of Abbott Grow Toddler Growing Up Milk or as high as $113.35 for a 1.8kg tin of Similac Follow On Milk Formula – Step 2, according to ST’s check on FairPrice’s online store.

Sheng Siong said in response to ST’s queries that it has encountered theft cases involving milk powder in its stores and works with the police to deter theft by having employees wear vests with the words “Shopwatch. May I help you?”.

In 2020, a man and a woman aged 30 and 39 respectively were arrested for stealing milk powder from a supermarket on five occasions, and were charged in court for theft in dwelling with common intention.

In 2014, another couple was jailed for stealing milk powder to resell for profit.

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