The Pasteur Institute of Cambodia (IPC) on June 15 signed a partnership agreement with the UN Industrial Development Organisation’s (UNIDO) Post Harvest Fisheries Development project (CAPFISH-Capture) to strengthen the capacity of its testing laboratories towards achieving ISO 17025 accreditation.
The agreement will enable IPC to conduct food analysis for microbiological tests to produce reliable results supporting food businesses, including fisheries, while ISO accreditation would mean test results from IPC would be accepted globally.
“The joint efforts of the CAPFish project, implemented by UNIDO and IPC to achieve ISO 17025 accreditation, will help Cambodia in achieving national and international recognition of test results and so the quality and safety of its fishery products.
“This also allows Cambodia to improve its exports of processed agricultural products, including fishery products to other potential importing countries, particularly in ASEAN, China and the EU,” CAPFish-Capture said in a press release on June 15.
Accredited laboratories play a key role in integrating Cambodia food products into global value chains, it added.
Currently, such accredited testing facilities in the country are limited, with the Kingdom depending heavily on the accredited laboratories in neighbouring countries for food testing, which is both time consuming and costing.
The EU-supported CAPFish Capture project, implemented by UNIDO and the Fisheries Administration, is to strengthen the industrial capacity of testing laboratories towards achieving ISO 17025 accreditation.
Khov Koung, deputy director-general of the Fisheries Administration, said food testing laboratories played a significant role in identifying food safety hazards and risks.
“The food testing laboratory will help Cambodia provide valid testing results on laboratory testing parameters to check if food is [safe].
“To be recognised globally, food testing laboratories are required to meet the ISO17025 standard to carry out accurate and reliable services,” Koung said
Camilla Lombard, deputy head of Cooperation at the EU delegation to Cambodia, said the development was timely.
“There is an urgent need to harmonise the resources of laboratories which are scattered in the country, and to point out clear directions towards efficient allocation of resources with a vision to further developing Cambodia’s laboratory testing capabilities.
“Cambodia needs a long-term investment plan for quality infrastructures to create an effective enabling environment which enhances food safety, metrology and testing laboratories with a sustainable business model,’’ Lombard said.
IPC director Andre Spiegel said accreditation had been a goal of the institute.
“The IPC has for several years wanted to accredit its food testing laboratory. It seemed important to be able to offer users the services of an accredited laboratory, particularly for those who needed certification from an accredited laboratory to be able to export food products.
“This approach allowed us to achieve two objectives: the first, strengthen the quality of our processes and analyses for a benefit in terms of public health, particularly in food safety; the second, to bring our modest contribution to the economic development of Cambodia,” he said.
Sok Narin, country representative at UNIDO, said that he was convinced this will positively improve quality management systems according to ISO17025 requirements, which would ultimately benefit the agriculture and food processing industry in the Kingdom.
“This partnership commits us to work together in order to achieve the ISO 17025 accreditation for the IPC laboratory,’’ Narin said.