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Food safety law hits delays

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Provisions cover processed and unprocessed food as defined in the law and the entire food production chain from farm-to-table in accordance with the general principles of food safety. Hong Menea

Food safety law hits delays

The draft Food Safety Law is expected to be sent to the Council of Ministers for review and approval after the February 20 community outbreak of Covid-19 is under control.

The draft law was prepared in 2015 with 11 chapters and 53 articles and aims to establish a food-safety system that protects personal and consumer health by preventing, controlling and eliminating food-related pollution and hazards.

Provisions cover processed and unprocessed food as defined in the law and the entire food production chain from farm-to-table in accordance with the general principles of food safety.

Phan Oun, the Ministry of Commerce's director-general for Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Prevention, said the draft legislation was discussed on February 4 by a working group comprising representatives of the ministries of Commerce, and Economy and Finance.

He said the severity of the latest Covid-19 outbreak has postponed an inter-ministerial meeting that is due to be held before the draft law is submitted to the council.

"I believe that when the situation improves, the debate on the legal aspects [of the draft law] will proceed faster, accordingly,” he said, adding that the edict was prepared in line with the government's commitment to fulfil its obligations under the World Trade Organisation, of which Cambodia is a member.

According to Oun, the draft law will also respond to and complement the Law on the Management of Quality and Safety of Products and Services and other legislation to ensure the safety of food products and legally hold relevant traders, businesspeople, producers, distributors and importers accountable for their actions.

"The draft law will be announced one day. I believe food safety will gain another layer of guarantee and become a channel to attract tourists, in a scenario where Covid-19 is managed. It'll be cordially embraced by international and local tourists, as well as end-users,” he said.

Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post that food plays an important role in alluring visitors to Cambodia's tourist destinations.

All tourist destinations need quality food and good hygiene to serve customers, he said.

Sopheak said: "Food is very important for the tourism sector, the Ministry of Tourism has also organised a food tourism festival in the past and has been selecting national foods for tourists to Cambodia to get a get a taste of cuisines representative of tourist destinations.”

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin previously said the law would position the Kingdom's food sector as an attractive destination for investment.

"It can also spur investment in grocery stores for tourists who may be concerned over the safety and quality of food. This is something essential for tourists, because they tend to want to eat quality, tasty and hygienic foods.

“When travelling to any country, guests are always the first to ask about the types of food and how safe they are,” she noted.

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