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New food security laboratory comes online in Svay Rieng

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Supplied

A new laboratory to monitor food products and ensure their safety opened on Tuesday in Svay Rieng province, near the border with Vietnam.

It is the third such facility to open in the kingdom in the last few years, after other labs came online in Banteay Meanchey and Preah Sihanouk provinces in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Speaking during the launching ceremony for the new lab, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said the new centre will be used to analyse food in order to ensure it’s suitable for consumption, adding that it will help companies and traders save time as they won’t have to send food samples to Camcontrol in Phnom Penh for analysis, a process that takes one to two days.

“Food security has become a major priority for us, and we are working hard to guarantee the food you find in the market is safe for consumption.

“We have drafted a new strategy to enforce the law when it comes to the management of quality and safety standards of food products, as well as the prevention of unfair competition and the distribution of counterfeit products.

“We ask traders and producers to operate fairly and protect the interests as consumers and avoid distributing items that may cause a health hazard,” Mr Sorasak said.

Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Secretary of State, welcomed the launching of the facility, and said it is in line with governmental policy to reduce food imports.

He pointed out that the centre complements the work of a $20 million project recently initiated by the government to boost agricultural production by increasing the number of hectares used for growing crops.

Named ‘boost food production project’, the initiative is being implemented in eight provinces – Kandal, Battambang, Pursat, Prey Veng, Kampong Cham, Tboung Khmum, Kampong Thom and Siem Reap.

Hean Vanhan, director general of the General Directorate of Agriculture, told Khmer Times that the boost food production project has already delivered some significant results.

“The number of agricultural products supplied to the local markets have increased substantially,” he said.

Every day, Cambodia imports between 200 to 400 tonnes of vegetables from neighbouring countries, primarily Vietnam, Thailand and China, costing the nation between $150 and $250 million every year.

Three more laboratories are now in the pipeline, which will be built in Phnom Penh, Preah Vihear and Banteay Meanchey.

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