The Council of Ministers, or Cabinet, on April 1 unanimously passed a draft law on food safety at a full session led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to the government spokesman Phay Siphan.

The draft law is designed to be in step with trends in international trade, and consistent with the government’s 2012-2015 Work Programme concerning the commercial sector, Siphan wrote on Facebook following the meeting.

He said the programme required Cambodia to build a strong legal system embracing international good practice principles and supporting the integration of the domestic economy with the rest of the region and the world.

The draft law aims to improve management of food supply chains at all stages; ensure that all consumer products distributed in Cambodia meet quality, safety, hygiene and other relevant standards to protect and promote the wellbeing and other benefits of the people; and support general poverty reduction, Siphan said.

He emphasised that each food supply chain link must comply with Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement commitments, which he said are drivers of investment and food exports as well as supports for equitable and fair competition in the industry.

He described the draft law as a type of multi-sectoral common-responsibility mechanism that requires the participation of all relevant stakeholders in the management and control of the quality and safety of food across all production lines.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng commented that safe food promotes good health, spares consumers the time and expenses that could arise from potential medical issues, and contributes to reductions in poverty and mortality risks.