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An official inspects contaminated prahok yesterday in Takeo province before it was destroyed by authorities. Photo supplied
An official inspects contaminated prahok yesterday in Takeo province before it was destroyed by authorities. Photo supplied

Embalming chemical found in Takeo prahok

Takeo provincial authorities yesterday confiscated and destroyed more than 180 kilograms of contaminated prahok from four production sites, according to an official with the Cambodia Import-Export Inspection and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CAMCONTROL).

Pao Leangkong, who heads CAMCONTROL’s branch in Takeo, said officials had inspected six sites after hearing reports from citizens and in the media about suspicious fish paste. At four sites officials found prahok that had been contaminated with formalin, a common embalming agent. However, he denied local media reports that officials had confiscated more than 1 tonne of prahok.

“It was just 183 kilograms,” he said. “They produced it in Traing district’s Angkanh commune, but they imported the fish from Vietnam. In four of the six production places we found the chemical substance formalin, which is usually applied to preserve dead bodies.”

The four sites were warned to stop using smuggled fish, Leangkong said, and officials planned to call the heads of the production sites for a meeting later today. He said the fish had been smuggled from Vietnam using illegal routes, particularly in Borei Cholsar district.

Ban Touch, a military police officer based in Borei Cholsar, said his team often arrested individuals who were importing prahok and fish illegally.

“There are many cases, but we cannot track down all of them,” he said. “They come in through illegal crossings.”

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