From a consumer protection perspective, labels serve as crucial information for consumers in making informed decisions when deciding to purchase products or choose services. To date, the government has implemented and issued general and specific regulations governing product labelling to ensure consumers have access to accurate and reliable information, safeguard consumers, and promote fair and competitive markets.
The Consumer Protection Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General issued a Notification on the Labeling of Information for Consumers on Products, Goods and Services dated 23 September 2022 (“Notification”) as part of the enforcement of the Consumer Protection Law. The Notification clarifies the labelling requirements for products in Cambodia, emphasizing that all products, both locally produced and imported, must have Khmer language information either through labels or attachments. It also specifies criteria for font size, content and description information which must be clear and accurate.
Labelling Requirements for Specific Products
(1) Labelling of Nutrition Information on Pre-packed Food Products
The Ministry of Commerce (“MOC”) issued Prakas No. 0059 on the Requirements of Labelling of Nutrition Information on Pre-Packed Food Products on 22 February 2022 (“Prakas 0059”) to set out the requirements of labelling of nutritional information on pre-packed food products to ensure that food is not circulated in the market in a fraudulent or deceptive manner, to protect the welfare of consumers and to promote fair food trade. The scope of this Prakas 0059 covers pre-packed food products that have a description of the nutritional information on its labels and are imported, produced, processed, packed, and distributed in Cambodian market.
Prakas 0059 states that providing nutritional Information on labelling of pre-packed food products is a voluntary practice. However, if food business wishes to provide nutritional information and/or if any food product represents any nutritional information or function of nutrition on the label, such food product must comply with the specific requirements set out under Prakas 0059.
Further, Prakas 0059 (including its relevant appendixes) provides specific requirements that all nutritional information shown on the label must comply with including, but not limited to, how the amount of nutritional information should be labelled (i.e., using conversion factors, showing specific number and following international measurement).
(2) Labelling of Cosmetics
On 24 February 2022, the MOC issued Prakas No. 0064 on the Requirements of Cosmetic Distribution (“Prakas 0064”) to set out requirements for distribution of cosmetics in Cambodian market in order to protect consumers’ health and interests and promote fair competition. The implementation scope of this Prakas covers all persons who distribute cosmetics in Cambodia.
Persons conducting cosmetic business must be responsible for their products, ensure that the products are of high quality, safe for consumers and appropriately labeled in accordance with the relevant law and regulations.
All distributed cosmetics in Cambodia must:
(a) have a declaration number or a permit from the Ministry of Health;
(b) be properly labeled in accordance with the requirements of information standards; and
(c) have e-commerce permit (for individual) or e-commerce license (for entity) and online service certificate
from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for cosmetic products distributed via electronic means.
However, the above requirements are exempted for cosmetics produced in traditional way for private use and non-commercial purposes.
In addition, all cosmetic labels must not be misrepresented or misleading to consumers. Minimum information related to the products must be disclosed to the consumers on the packaging or information leaflet attached to the product.
(3) Labelling of Electrical Appliances
On 11 August 2023, the Royal Government of Cambodia issued Sub-Decree No. 254 on the Management and Improvement of Energy Efficiency of Electrical Appliances (“Sub-Decree 254”), which aims to enhance the energy efficiency of electrical appliances in Cambodia by implementing energy efficiency standards and labelling, in accordance with the national policy on energy efficiency.
According to Sub-Decree 254, all importers and manufacturers must register their electrical appliance with specific functions with the Ministry of Mines and Energy (“MME”) in order to obtain energy efficiency labels. These electrical appliances with specific functions refer to any devices that use electricity to perform specific functions. The electrical appliances with specific functions are to be determined under the regulations of the MME, although to date, such regulations have not been issued by the MME as yet.
Once registration of energy efficiency label is obtained, each electrical appliance must be affixed with energy efficiency labels before being sold in the Cambodian market. These labels must include the following required information:
(a) energy efficiency rating (five ratings, with five being the most efficient and one being the least efficient);
(b) electrical appliance category;
(c) model number;
(d) key technical specifications;
(e) reference test standard;
(f) energy efficiency parameters;
(g) value; and
(h) any other necessary information specified by Prakas of MME for the specific electrical appliance.
Details regarding label will be determined separately by Prakas of MME for each type of electrical appliance. Sub-Decree 254 will enter into force within 12 months after Prakas on Determination of Electrical Appliance with Specific Function enters into force (although such Prakas has not been issued by the MME as yet).
Enforcement, Penalties and Recommendations
It is important to note that non-compliance with Prakas 0059 and Prakas 0064 is subject to penalties pursuant to the Consumer Protection Law and other applicable regulations, while violations of the requirements under Sub-Decree 254 may lead to written warnings, business suspensions, appliance confiscation, and fines to be determined by the MME.
Considering the above, it is prudent that all businesses should expeditiously start to rectify the labels of goods/services (including labels that have been circulated in the market) if there is insufficient or inaccurate information which contravene the consumer protection and label regulations in force.
Should you have any concerns or queries on the matters mentioned above, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information provided here is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from qualified legal counsel for all specific situations.