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Education Ministry launches food safety drive in schools

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Children flock to a snack stand after classes. KT/Siv Channa

The Education Ministry has launched a nationwide campaign aimed at promoting food safety in schools and ensuring that a ban on the sale of harmful foodstuff is strictly followed.

Education Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha, yesterday said that the campaign will be carried out in target schools in the capital and some provinces to ensure that the food doesn’t contain chemicals and is hygienically prepared.

“The main purpose of this campaign is to widely disseminate information to all key stakeholders, such as the school management committee, the school’s principal and food vendors in the schools, to strictly monitor the foodstuff being sold,” he said.

According to an Education Ministry press release on Friday, the first phase of the campaign will be carried out in Preah Norodom Primary School in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district today and will be held later in other target provinces.

In May, the Education Ministry issued a directive to strengthen measures to promote food safety and food welfare at public and private educational institutions nationwide.

It banned the sale of food past the expiry date; have no clear source of origin; alcohol and tobacco products; all kinds of energy drinks; sweet beverages; coffee; ice cream and seafood; all kinds of chocolate, candy and chewing gum and all kinds of jelly, doughnuts and sweets.

Nheb Sayoeun, principal of Hun Sen Svay Chek Primary School in Siem Reap province’s Angkor Thom district, yesterday said that her school had implemented the ministry’s directive.

“Since the ministry’s directive was issued, we have also been warning students about the dangers of consuming such harmful food items,” she said. “We keep reminding them of this during assemblies or in the classroom and regularly monitor the type of food being sold in our school.”

“But it is difficult for us to monitor sweet food which some vendors on motorbikes sell near our school and we try to explain to them how these can affect children’s health,” Ms Sayoeun added.

Rean Cheng, a 36-year-old construction worker who has a child studying in grade 3, yesterday said she supports the food safety campaign to protect young children from poisoning.

“I’m happy with this kind of dissemination of information because it can reduce the purchase of food which have no clear source of origin and are not hygienically prepared,” she noted. “Such food causes children to suffer from diarrhoea, vomiting, poisoning and health problems.”

“As parents, we are unable to check on the food that our children buy in school,” Ms Cheng added.

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