Baby formula suppliers have been given a 30-day notice by the Ministry of Commerce to clean up packaging language or face penalties.
Importers, distributors and suppliers of food products for infants and young children are targets in the product-safety enforcement announcement.
The ministry issued a statement on Wednesday that owners of companies not fulfilling legal obligations for proper product packaging could be suspended and their products confiscated.
Officials have observed some baby and child products in the market do not comply with a 2005 product marketing law.
The ministry gave as an example, instructions on how to use the product to be stated in Khmer. It especially wants the words, “There is nothing better than exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding until two years or more” to be on the product packaging.
“Within 30 days from the issuance of this notification, if officials from the Consumer Protection and Fraud Repression Department find any products for infants and young children do not comply or meet the requirements, officials will take action to confiscate the products from the market.
“It’s the law on quality control, product safety, consumer protection and other applicable regulations without exception,” the ministry said.
The 2005 law made it clear that all infant and young-child food products in Cambodia must have a licence and a proper label in the Khmer that is readable. It should contain a clear manufacturer’s address, expiration date and ingredients list, including a nutritional chart and instructions for use.
The law also stipulates formula for infants and food for children must reflect the age at which they can be used. The label should also provide an educational message to promote breastfeeding, the ministry said.
Separately, feeding bottles, nipples and toys for infants and children must have instructions about proper product use.
An employee at a company selling infant and child-feeding products who did not want to be named, said most companies comply, but he said some do not. He called the ministry’s effort a good one.
“Regarding products that are illegally imported or without standards, the ministry should enforce the law. Illegal products might be cheaper, but people should think not only about price but the quality of the product and the need to be properly informed,” he said.