The Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) has requested the Ministry of Commerce analyse iron and zinc levels in all powdered milk products in Cambodia.

The request came after the ministry found Nutrilatt powdered milk formula had far lower iron and zinc levels than written on the product label and does not meet Codex standards.

CARD chairman Yim Chhayly sent a letter to commerce minister Pan Sorasak on Monday asking for support.

Chhayly said he hoped Nutrilatt Master LM Co Ltd, which imports the baby formula, will obey Cambodian law and follow international standards to promote food safety.

The deficiencies can impact the growth and development of babies and children, he said.

Chhayly requested the ministry analyse the levels of iron and zinc powdered milk sold by various companies throughout the country.

“I have attentively monitored the scientific results. I am extremely worried about the impacts on the mental and physical development of children,” he said.

“[These products] can endanger the health and development of babies and children. I support the action taken by the commerce ministry and relevant institutions and request they take strict measures against the companies,” he said.

The ministry’s General Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Prevention (CamControl) held a meeting on August 26 attended by Nutrilatt representatives, families of victims and civil society organisations to check the results of lab findings.

The findings showed Nutrilatt iron levels were not at a level claimed by the firm. Nutrilatt said it contested the result.

Ministry spokesman Seang Thay said on Monday Chhayly’s request was in line with the ministry’s current measure.

“Our activities are not only aimed at dairy products. We check all products. But this dairy product is a new matter and we are finding problems.

“The ministry detected iron deficiency, but the firm said it is not a deficiency. So, we will discuss to find a solution to this matter,” he said.

Watch video: