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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Crackdown on illegal salt fuels local sales

Crackdown on illegal salt fuels local sales

Kampot and Kep provinces aim to more than double iodised salt production to supply local markets this year, claiming rising demand following a government crackdown of non-iodised salt trading late last year.

Technical Chief of Kampot and Kep Salt Producer Community Bun Narin said the association aims to produce 126,000 tonnes of salt this year – largely destined for the domestic market – up from 60,433 tonnes in 2010.

Late last year, Cambodian authorities attempted to stop the trade of non-iodised salt.

At the time, officials said the ban would assist in preventing diseases. Iodine is added to salt in order to supplement diets lacking the chemical.

A shortage of iodine can cause health problems such as goitres, according to the World Health Organisation.

The crackdown followed a UNICEF study showing untreated salt was gaining market share, despite a sub-decree adopted in 2003 which laid out fines of up to one million riel for selling untreated salt.

Officials have said untreated salt is often smuggled to Cambodia from neighbouring countries.

But Duong Phalla, a salt vender near Phnom Penh’s Old Market, claimed nearly all salt sold in Phnom Penh was now iodised.

“We won’t sell non-iodised salt to consumers because we are afraid that the authorities will order us to close our businesses,” she said.

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