Phnom Penh (FN), March 28 – The Council of Ministers (CoM) has decided to prevent the export of breast milk from Cambodia to the U.S by Ambrosia Labs Co. Ltd., according to the CoM’s letter dated on Tuesday.

The decision to suspend the business came after condemnation from UNICEF that criticized selling breast milk from "vulnerable and poor" mothers.

The organization called the morals and ethics of the business into question. "Breast milk banks should never exploit vulnerable and poor women for profit and commercial purposes," said Iman Morooka, the spokesperson for UNICEF.

Mothers who pump their milk for Ambrosia Labs may earn up to $7.50 per day. Many of the women involved in the business use this money to support their families.

Ambrosia sells the milk in the US for upwards of $20 for each 147ml package.

The institution also raised concerns regarding the export of breast milk given the fact that malnutrition in children continues to be a legitimate issue within the Kingdom.

“The export of Cambodian breast milk to the U.S by Ambrosia Labs Co. Ltd. shall be banned and prevented immediately. No matter how broke Cambodia is, Cambodia must not trade breast milk,” the COM wrote in the letter addressed to Ministry of Health.

Given that this is a relatively unregulated market, there are concerns regarding the safety of the product.

"Breast milk could be considered a human tissue, the same as blood, and as such it's commercialization should be banned," stated Ms. Morooka.

The Cambodian customs department said the finance minister, Aun Porn Moniroth, has signed a letter blocking future exports.

The women who are dependent upon the sale of their breast milk have petitioned the government to allow them to continue to work with Ambrosia Labs.