The Ministry of Industry has ordered its provincial departments to crackdown on facilities producing fake palm sugar over fears the counterfeit products could affect the current Geographical Indication status of Cambodian sugar.
According to a directive issued on Tuesday, Industry Minister Cham Prasidh said provincial departments must weed out all fake production facilities in the wake of a recent raid in Takeo province.
Earlier this month, authorities in Takeo’s Baty district shut down 43 facilities making fake palm sugar using a blend including white sugar. There were also problems with hygiene at the facilities.
“The fake palm sugar is made from raw materials like white sugar or other sugars and is doctored to have the same taste, smell, colour and form as real palm sugar before being trafficked into the markets,” said Mr Prasidh.
Mr Prasidh said this illegal activity could potentially “sabotage the economy and destroy the reputation of Khmer palm sugar, which is a GI product recognised by the public in and outside the country”.
Industry Ministry spokesman Oum Sotha explained that although chemical substances were not found in the fake sugar, action needs to be taken to protect the status of real palm sugar.
“We have researched and found irregularities in the fake palm sugar production,” he said. “It happened at some facilities like in Takeo and Kampong Speu province’s Oudong district. We took a sample of the raw materials to do experiments and found out that it was not duly produced, so we need to take action to eliminate this.”
“According to our tests, there were no chemical substances present that could seriously affect consumer health,” he added.
“Although this is not about consumer health, we need to act because this fake product could affect our original Cambodian product and its market price, since palm sugar has Geographical Indication status and is exported abroad.”