The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport is set to finalise its draft national policy on student health, with food safety incorporated into schools’ curriculum throughout the country, according to a senior official at the ministry.
Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said for the period 2019-20, the ministry will, as a first step, update its existing policy on food safety at all educational institutions.
“The ministry will include food safety into the school curriculum as part of ‘health education’ while it finalises national policy on health studies. We expect to reap the benefits from this policy before long,” he said.
Soveacha added that the ministry will provide training on safe cooking for teachers, students, parents and various educational institutions, while food suppliers and vendors around schools will be briefed about food safety.
“The ministry has laid out a number of policies, some of which have already been implemented. As for the ministry’s study on food safety, we will issue additional policies to be implemented by all educational institutions,” he said.
For an effective implementation of its food safety policy, the ministry plans to establish an inter-ministerial taskforce involving the Ministry of Health’s General Department of Health Studies; the ministry’s Primary and Secondary School General Department; and the Ministry of Commerce’s CamControl, a body tasked with inspecting, among other things, the origin of products.
“The ministry’s plans for food safety have also received strong support from other organisations including the UN’s World Food Programme. This policy will help provide food safety education for all educational institutions,” he said.
The taskforce will help all educational institutions broaden knowledge on food safety, which includes the provision of food safety labels and food safety-related equipment.
He said the ministry plans to conduct regular field visits at educational institutions to promote better communication and understanding of food safety.
“The ministry will strictly inspect the implementation and assess the effectiveness of the policy on a regular basis,” he said.
Chea Sim Santhormok High School principal Lao Molina told The Post on Monday that his school has received guidance from the ministry and other health-related institutions on food safety. Molina said he will share his knowledge with other teachers and students.
“The ministry provides us with training on food safety two to three times per year, especially on the impact of food and drinks we were unaware of before,” he said.
“After training, the ministry would inspect food stalls at the school. For food stalls that are indifferent to hygiene and students’ health, the ministry would educate the vendors and make them promise in writing to follow food safety standards."
“No vendor sells unhygienic food anymore, while students are also more aware of it,” he said.
Counter-counterfeit committee director Liv Sophanarith said the committee has been working with the ministry and other educational institutions to address the issue.
“Combating counterfeit products and unsafe food for students is very important. We need to integrate food safety into school curriculum at all levels,” he said.