Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Watchdog calls out firm for marketing formula



Watchdog calls out firm for marketing formula

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People pose for a photo holding a Bibere gift bag earlier this year at Royal Phnom Penh Hospital. Facebook

Watchdog calls out firm for marketing formula

An aggressive marketing campaign for a New Zealand brand of breast milk substitute – including giveaways to new parents in a hospital – has been condemned as “appalling” and “completely illegal” by a body that monitors Cambodia’s strict rules on the marketing of formula milk.

The Facebook page of Bibere Cambodia, an infant milk substitute brand owned by Auckland-based Export New Zealand Ltd, shows what appears to be a young father, apparently at Royal Phnom Penh Hospital, receiving a Bibere branded bag.

“Congratulation for your new member and stay healthy with a new bright ‘Bibere GOLD’, product of New Zealand,” says the caption above the picture on a web page containing numerous images and a video promoting the brand.

The Cambodian government outlawed all advertisements and promotions of formula milk in 2005 with Sub-Decree 133, which specifically prohibits promotion of the product in a hospital or health centre.

“This Facebook page is like an advertisement, and advertising formula milk is against the law in Cambodia, and worldwide is against the WHO code,” said Annelies Allain, director of Ibfan-ICDC, which monitors the implementation of laws on breast milk substitutes on behalf of the WHO.

Speaking to a food industry news website on Monday, Export New Zealand director Chris Berryman said his company was unaware of the Facebook page and would ask his Phnom Penh-based Cambodian distributor Nutrilatt Master “to make changes”.

Allain, however, was sceptical of the company’s commitment.

“The New Zealand company has no business not knowing the law,” she said. “They blamed the local person, but that is an easy way out for big companies.”

Yesterday, the Bibere Cambodia Facebook page was still live, and still showed the father receiving the free Bibere sample. Nutrilatt Master’s own Facebook page contained advertisements for its own brand of formula milk with a banner proclaiming: “Nutrilatt, the smarter growing up milk powder.”

When asked yesterday why his company was flouting the law, Nutrilatt’s director – who would only identify himself as Mr Pim – promised to take down the adverts for Nutrilatt and said he had previously instructed his IT team to remove the photo of the new parent from the Bibere Cambodia page. He could not say whether other promotional materials would be taken down.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American