PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): The authorities are strengthening inspections of food markets and wholesalers to prevent the sale of substandard and expired products ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year.
Phan Oun, head of the Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression (CCF) Directorate-General, told The Post that to protect the wellbeing and economic interests of the people during the Lunar New Year, the CCF has issued orders to its provincial offices to carry out detailed inspections across the country.
The operation will be carried out through the use of CCF mobile food laboratories, with sampling analysis to be done at both the smaller provincial office labs, and at the CCF’s large lab.
“This campaign is to prevent the use of poor quality products, the presence of pesticide or chemical residues, an increase of pricing, or anything that exploits consumers,” he said.
“The foods targeted includes vegetables, fruit, meat and seafood,” he added.
According to CCF, five mobile food test vehicles have been deployed to provincial authorities to support their inspections.
Oun said that in the first 12 days of the year, CCF officials inspected 28 markets, confiscating and destroying about a tonne of products that did not comply with regulations.
He called on business owners and producers to think about the health of the people, and to conduct business honestly. Endangering the health, lives, or economic interests of their customers for their own profit was immoral, he said, warning that some traders may even face legal action.
“I suggest that consumers check the logos on products to avoid buying poor quality items,” Oun said.
Sok Yorn, vice-president of the Siem Reap province-based Cambodia Safe Fish, Meat and Vegetables Association, told The Post that quality control in the markets at present seems to lack cohesion or comprehensive regulation.
Products are imported from neighbouring countries in large numbers, which can affect both domestic production and the health of consumers, he said.
“Today, inspections are not done thoroughly, which results in traders importing and trafficking products at will,” he said. “They do not confront the problems of quality, safety, or hygiene.”
Yorn urged authorities to establish more effective controls on imported products, and to enact comprehensive measures to guarantee the quality of products for consumers.