The Health Ministry has said more than 2,000 restaurants and canteen owners in the country have not registered with it to undergo training on food safety.
Heng Bun Keat, director of the food and drug department with the ministry, said at a workshop last week that 2,020 out of 4,526 restaurant and canteen owners throughout the country have not cooperated with the ministry in its efforts to improve food safety.
He appealed to these owners to register with the ministry to get training and receive the ministry’s food safety certification.
“The ministry calls on all restaurant owners and caterers to receive training on preparing food in a hygienic way and receive certification that their outlets conform to the ministry’s standards,” Mr Bun Keat said.
He noted that restaurants which have the certification will be able to attract more local and foreign customers and reduce the risk of illness caused by unhygienic food.
Mr Bun Keat added that the New Zealand government is providing experts to train Cambodians on internationally recognised ways to prepare and serve food.
He noted that more restaurant owners are beginning to understand the importance of getting the training and certification.
Mr Bun Keat said that previously owners used to send uneducated workers for training and these workers did not implement the food safety requirements in their outlets.
He added that over the past two years owners and managers have been coming to attend the training so that they can train their staff.
Mr Bun Keat noted that ministry officials carry out checks on food outlets and issue A, B or C certification depending on the standard of food safety.
Sous Srey, a canteen owner in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district, said that she opened her outlet a few months ago and will register for the training.
“Training to prepare food in a hygienic way is very important for us to get certified,” she said. “When we display the certificate in the shop more customers will be confident that our food is healthy.”
Last week, the government and food industry representatives held a Food Safety Forum in Phnom Penh, the first meeting of its kind aimed to aid the drafting of effective food-related regulations.
Government officials and industry experts highlighted the need for a stronger collaboration among authorities, the private sector, NGOs and consumers to enhance food safety in the Kingdom.