The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has announced it will step up efforts to control the import of illegal pork.

The pledge came at an inter-ministerial meeting held earlier this week and attended by agriculture officials as well as representatives from the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), Ministry of Commerce and other relevant institutions.

At the meeting, the agricultural ministry called on the GDCE to work more closely with its General Directorate of Animal Health and Production, along with the local authorities in border provinces, to restrict illegal imports.

Relevant authorities will also increase inspections of frozen meat storage facilities, both for illegal products and to ensure that they are adhering to sanitary standards. If illegal activity is discovered, prosecutions will follow.

Ministry spokeswoman Im Rachana said the inter-ministerial meeting set the future direction of the ministry’s cooperation with other institutions.

Srun Pov, director of the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association, welcomed the announcement, saying the prevention of illegal imports of all kinds of frozen meat into Cambodia is essential as it could affect consumers’ health and the market prices of local products.

“Frozen meat is not of good quality. In most countries, it would be thrown away or fed to pigs. In the past, hundreds of tonnes of this kind of meat was introduced into the Cambodian market. People ate it, and many became ill,” he warned.

“I applaud the government for committing to ending the illegal trade of frozen meat. I hope the campaign will deter corrupt traders from importing these products,” he added.