Authorities in Takeo province’s Baty district shut down 43 facilities making fake palm sugar yesterday.
The owners were then given one day to remove all the sugar already made in their facilities.
Ngann Sary, the district police chief, said the operation was launched yesterday after it was discovered the sugar did not meet quailty standards.
“Our forces collaborated with officials from the department of commerce to lead the crackdown,” Mr Sary said. “We are not yet sure how they do it, but these facilities used some sort of blended liquid to make their product appear like natural palm sugar.”
Por Leangkong, chief of the provincial CamControl department, said the factories were closed after he requested permission from the provincial administration.
“This does not mean the facilities will be permanently shut down, but they will only be allowed to reopen when they get permission from relevant authorities,” he said.
“We could not find any specified chemical substances in the sugar. However, it wasn’t made according to standards. The equipment, tools and facilities were all unhygienic, and the sugar itself is not palm sugar, because they blended different ingredients like water and cane sugar to make it,” Mr Leangkong said.
Following a meeting between provincial and district authorities, the factory owners were ordered to remove all the sugar by 8am today or face punishment.
Mr Leangkong said there has been a surge in production, with an increase from 25 facilities last year to 43 today.