Cambodian experts on Tuesday urged entrepreneurs, traders, producers and suppliers to pay more attention to food safety standards to ensure the welfare of consumers.
The appeal was made at the Food Safety Forum held at the Mekong Institute under cooperation with Institute of Standards of Cambodia (ISC), the Commerce Ministry’s Cambodia Import-Export Inspection and Fraud Repression Directorate General (Camcontrol) and other relevant stakeholders.
Mekong Institute executive director Watcharas Leelawath said at the forum: “Talking about food safety, we have to discuss standards.”
Leelawath said focusing on the two priorities brings quick success in the welfare and living policies of the Greater Mekong Subregion governments, including Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
“Countries in the [Greater] Mekong Subregion have great potential in agriculture, so we can [achieve] food safety standards in supply and production which are recognised nationally, regionally and internationally, as we have to produce food for domestic and overseas markets,” Leelawath said.
An ISC report said that the US has the highest safety standards for its food imports. However, some of their traders secretly produce and import sub-standard foods, costing the country about $7 billion annually.
Ly Tin, the deputy director of the ISC’s Department of Certification said food safety standards and inspection improve the people’s welfare.
However, he said it required the efforts of all parties, especially producers and suppliers to ensure consumer safety. Consumers should choose edibles with food standard logos recognised by expert institutions to avoid risks.
“Food producers and suppliers must be honest and stop using toxic chemicals, which harm consumers’ health,” Tin said.
He said the 200 companies registered at the ISC have promised to follow food safety standards.
The Department of Laboratory director at Camcontrol, Sin Sideth, said the majority of people generally evaluate all types of foods imported from neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand as low quality or containing chemical substances.
But such an evaluation is “not right” because most foods they import meet the quality standards.
“Whether or not domestic or imported foods are safe for consumers depends on the honesty of producers and importers,” Sideth stressed.