The Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CCF) has confirmed that its officials will carry out inspections searching for prohibited foods as well as foods that carry significant health risks at educational institutions nationwide.

Education departments across the country have also reminded their officials to pay closer attention to this issue.

The policy on prohibited foods in schools and foods that pose a high risk to health was first issued by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on May 2, 2019. It mandates that institutions across the country take strict measures to improve safety and wellbeing for students and educators.

CCF director-general Phan Oun told The Post on February 19 that his officials are now set to inspect for prohibited foods and foods that pose a high risk to health at educational institutions after receiving the guidelines from the ministry.

During the inspections, officials will also conduct outreach and education to raise awareness about prohibited and unhealthy foods.

“We will disseminate information on high risk foods to educational institutions … and will cooperate with all education departments to implement these instructions,” Oun said.

According to the guidelines, foods in schools that have been banned include all types of foods that are past their expiration dates, alcohol and tobacco products, energy and sugary drinks, coffee, ice cream, syrups, chocolate, candy and gum, jellies, donuts and sweets.

The guidelines also apply to high-risk foods such as those that are high in fat and sugar, use colouring agents, fried and roasted foods, high sodium foods such as packaged noodles, pickled and marinated foods, dried freshwater clams and others.

Poorly cooked and improperly prepared foods are also banned in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on the five keys to safe food preparation, and the CCF will include them in their inspections.

Another category of regulated foods are those that are required to have the exact source of production identified, including all kinds of uncooked meats and meat products such as patties, sausages, hot dogs, meatballs, animal offal, chicken wings or drumsticks, sandwiches served with pickles, all kinds of eggs and cakes made with eggs, noodles with no clear source and all kinds of raw vegetables.

Fresh milk that has not been treated with antiseptic methods, foods that do not have the correct label or manufacturer’s name, all kinds of half-cooked and raw foods that can be eaten raw such as fish, seafood, snails, clams and so on are required to have their source and dates clearly identified.

In coastal Preah Sihanouk province, the education department has recently warned that in cases where they find any food sellers violating the instructions, legal action will ensue.

The department has instructed its working group to check on food safety and wellbeing in schools and must report to the authorities for intervention if any infectious diseases or health risks are observed on school compound caused by water, food or other related factors.