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Food safety laboratory opens in Phnom Penh

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Tilapia, snakehead fish, frog and vegetables for sale in market in Phnom Penh. KT/Mai Vireak

A new centre to check produce for safety and quality standards was inaugurated yesterday in Phnom Penh.

The new facility will issue quality and safety certifications, and is equipped to analyse agricultural products at every stage of processing – from raw material to finished product.

A statement from the Ministry of Agriculture said the lab’s mission is to protect consumers’ health, build confidence on Cambodian agricultural goods and make the export process faster and more efficient.

The ministry statement went on to explain that the facility will ensure products follow international standards set by FAO, WHO, and Codex Alimentarius Commission, as well as the requirements of importing countries.

The lab will be managed by the Department of Agro-industries, which has the authority to issue warning letters, pause and halt producers’ activities, and withdraw their licences if traces of contamination or illegal fertilizers are found.

Kong Pheach, director of the Department of Agro-industries, said the centre comes online at a critical time, with concerns over food contamination in the kingdom running high.

“It is an important facility that will help us build confident and trust on our products,” he said, explaining that tests at the lab will not be compulsory, but that companies should be interested in bringing their products to the centre to earn quality certifications that can boost sales.

Keo Mom, CEO of Ly Ly Food Industry, a local producer of a range of food items, said the new facility is welcomed by both producers and consumers.

“Many people are worried about contaminated food items, and I think centres like this will help producers increase sales while creating peace of mind for consumers,” Ms Mom said.

The new lab is part of a wider plan to establish quality control centres around the country, particularly in hubs of agricultural production, Mr Pheach explained.

A mobile laboratory capable of analysing food samples at markets around the country was launched by the Ministry of Commerce in 2016.

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