Health officials on Monday called for food hygiene training to be brought in twice a month, effective from this month, to improve health standards at restaurants.
After conducting a small number of training sessions, it was found that an understanding of food hygiene was generally limited, resulting in customers getting sick.
“We are looking to provide two food hygiene training courses per month as what we have been running so far is insufficient,” Ngy Mean Heng, the director of the Phnom Penh Health Department, told The Post.
This year his department held two training courses, the first in June and the second in July.
On July 13, Phnom Penh Health Department officials trained restaurant owners and food service providers on basic food hygiene.
The training included instruction on hand and body hygiene, what Mean Heng called “the important things”.
Some 2,000 restaurant owners and food service providers attended the 50 food hygiene courses his department ran from 2011 to 2018. Fifty to 70 participants attended each course.
Restaurant owners were required to have certificates of food hygiene issued once a year by the Department of Health and Phnom Penh municipal authorities, he said.
During the certification process, officials checked the standard of food hygiene at applicants’ restaurants. Restaurant owners found lacking were told to improve their working practices.
Mean Heng said that restaurant owners failing to meet food hygiene standards three times faced suspension. Such businesses could only reopen after the owner had met food hygiene standards.
Ket Chantho, education specialist at NGO Plan International Cambodia, told The Post that generally hygiene and food management was better at larger regulated restaurants, while standards at small restaurants were limited.
“Sometimes, restaurant owners think of profits above customer health. We also recognise that people seem to have a limited knowledge of public hygiene,” Chantho said.