Mekong Institute, under its PROSAFE Project, held the Cambodia Food Safety Week on November 5-8, 2018 in Phnom Penh. Anchored by the theme Think Food Safety, Think Standards, the Food Safety Week offered simultaneous discussions and activities aimed at promoting safe food consciousness in the country.
The weeklong series of events gathered an array of key stakeholders from government and non-government institutions, regulatory bodies, as well as farmers and producers, processors, retailers, food handlers, small and medium enterprises, and consumers.
Acknowledging food safety as a complex process involving a myriad of actors, Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, MI Executive Director, underscored the importance of all stakeholders at different levels of the food supply chain: “Food safety is for everyone. Food safety is because of everyone.” He continued, “Through a knowledge-based approach, Mekong Institute aims to equip stakeholders with increased capacities that can translate to demonstrable change in food safety in Cambodia, especially among the general public and consumers’ practices and perceptions.”
The highlight of the week was the Food Safety Forum held on November 6 at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia. Sessions examined the country’s food safety standards and regulations and how it can enhance agri-food SME competitiveness and trade opportunities. The Forum also provided an avenue for selected SMEs to showcase their products.
“Promoting and strengthening food safety is particularly important for CLMV wherein agriculture serves as the backbone of these economies,” explained Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, Director of Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department (ADC) of MI. “Food safety begins at the farm – and extends throughout the processing, distribution, and consumption stages. We need to realize and address food safety as an interdisciplinary, multi-sectoral, and multi-stakeholder issue,” she added.
Additionally, two localized trainings on Cambodian Good Agricultural Practices (CamGAP) and Good Hygiene Practices in Restaurants and Canteens were conducted on November 5-7 at Sunway Hotel and November 7 at Phnom Penh Hotel, respectively. Capping off the series of activities was the Knowledge Sharing Forum on Food Safety Promotion in Cambodia, which gathered about 60 MI-trained food safety champions. Discussions centered around the food safety situation in Cambodia, food management systems and food safety-related work of different ministries, as well as possible areas for future multi-sectoral collaboration and collective action.
“We are pleased with the high turnout at the Food Safety Week,” said Dr. Leelawath. “This reflects the need for increased food safety awareness in Cambodia. After all, food safety is an underlying factor of any country’s health, trade, tourism, and overall development,” he stated.
The Cambodia Food Safety Week is delivered in collaboration with the following partners: Chemical Engineering and Food Technology Department, Institute of Technology of Cambodia; Faculty of Agro-Industry, Royal University of Agriculture; Plant Protection, Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary, General Directorate of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Institute of Standards of Cambodia, Ministry of Industry and Handicraft; Cambodia Import-Export Inspection and Fraud Repression Directorate-General, Ministry of Commerce; Food Safety Bureau, Department of Drug and Food, Ministry of Health; and Lotus Radio.
View and download photos of the event here: https://goo.gl/wMfBGv
For more information about the PROSAFE Project and its activities in Cambodia, please contact:
Mr. Ra Thorng
+66 (0) 43-202-268 ext. 3103