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Cambodia bans exports of human breast milk to U.S.

Staff Writer |
The sale and export of breast milk from Cambodian mothers to anywhere outside the country, including the U.S., has been officially banned, the government announced.

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“Even though Cambodia is very poor, she doesn’t sell mothers’ breast milk,” said a statement from the Council of Ministers, signed by Ngor Hong Ly, a secretary of state, and released with an endorsement from Prime Minister Hun Sen.

It says the government has “decided to take measures immediately to ban any purchases and export of breast milk from Cambodia.”

Posted to the Health Min­istry’s Facebook page, the statement names the U.S.-based company, Ambrosia Milk, which until recently had been recruiting Cambodian mothers to sell their breast milk to customers in the U.S.

The company—known locally as Khun Meada, which means “gratitude of mothers” in Khmer—was run out of a slum on the outskirts of Phnom Penh before closing on March 11 after the government ordered a temporary halt on breast milk exports, ostensibly amid concerns about possible detrimental effects to the health of Cambodian babies.

A number of women in Stung Meanchey district had been selling their breast milk to Ambrosia Milk since 2015—though the trade was only brought to international attention with the publication of an article on the website Broadly earlier this month.

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