Cambodian inspectors trained to spot illegal promotion of breastmilk substitutes as testing reveals misinformation on products

May 18 2021
Inspectors in Cambodia
Code compliance in Cambodia is promoted through training for government inspectors on how to investigate and monitor violations.
Photo: Sedtha Chin | Alive & Thrive

More than 100 inspectors from 20 of Cambodia’s 25 provinces received training on monitoring violations of the International Code of the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitute (BMS) by the Consumer Protection Competition and Fraud Repression (CCF) agency of Cambodia with technical assistance from Helen Keller International (HKI) and Alive & Thrive. 

The training included visits to points of sale, where the inspectors used checklists to identify violations of Cambodia’s Sub-Decree 133 on Marketing of Products for Infant and Young Child Feeding. The violations were then recorded by for enforcement actions. 

A&T’s work to support enforcement of the laws on BMS marketing led the Government of Cambodia to recognize the efforts with a Letter of Appreciation. 

The training occurred as testing of 60 formula milk brands revealed many BMS brands exaggerated the amounts of iron and zinc their products contained. Cambodia’s Consumer protection, Competition and Fraud repression directorate general of the Ministry of Commerce (CCF)  conducted the testing, with support from Alive & Thrive, Helen Keller International and UNICEF, following revelations last September that a well-known breastmilk substitute (BMS) brand had insufficient amounts of iron and zinc. CCF’s testing showed that the labels of roughly one in five of 60 BMS brands did not have as much iron as indicated and one in 10 did not have the levels of zinc indicated. 

Subsequently, CCF convened a meeting with violating BMS companies to urge the recall of ineligible products. The study will enable stronger Code enforcement and better monitoring of BMS in the country while Alive & Thrive and partners will continue to support CCF to protect families from defective products.

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