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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry bans skin-whitening product

Ministry bans skin-whitening product

THE Health Ministry has banned the import and sale of a Vietnamese skin-whitening cream that caused the death of a 23-year-old woman in Banteay Meanchey province last month, officials said Monday.

A cream identified as part of a line of products from Vietnamese brand Kem Lot Lanh Thom Cao Cap was responsible for the death of Chhuon Sovann in early March, and the product’s labelling does not include a complete list of ingredients, according to a Health Ministry statement released late last week.

Heng Bun Keat, director of the Ministry’s Food and Drug Department, said Monday that customers will be warned and the product removed from shops. “The Health Ministry requires all provincial health departments to broadcast widely through the media,” he said. “They also have to collect this product from beauty centres.”

Yim Yann, president of the Pharmacists’ Association of Cambodia, praised the move Monday, saying that the Health Ministry has not monitored the import and sale of dangerous beauty products closely enough in the past.

“If importing this kind of whitening cream was illegal, no one would have died,” he said. He added that legitimate products can also be dangerous if the directions are not followed.

Heng Bun Keat said the ministry will begin a nationwide campaign at the start of next month to monitor the quality of imported beauty products sold in salons and markets.

“Officials from the Food and Drug Department have already started collating the number of beauty salons in the city to see how many exist and how many of them have a licence, in order to make it easier to manage,” he said.

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