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Home Energy Reactor
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Standards must improve: official
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/standards-must-improve-official

Small food and beverage makers are at risk of being uncertified when the ASEAN economic community takes shape in 2015, with the vast majority far from achieving international quality and safety standards, a government official says.

Him Phanith, the deputy director of National Productivity Center, said just 30 of the estimated 500,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in Cambodia have internationally recognised food certification. Not having the standards in place will cancel out the opportunity to export and will make competition with imports tougher when trade barriers are loosened in 2015 during ASEAN integration, Phanith said.

“Entrepreneurs are required to have knowledge and understanding about the systems. They also need to invest in adjusting the building if found necessary and equipments involving clean production,” Phanith stated.

There are three standards the government is urging SMEs to adopt. GMP certification ensures all products meet strict quality standards. HACCP relates to the management system that the food is made with, ensuring they are safe and take care especially in handling raw products. ISO 22000, however, is the combination of both and also allows producers to export to foreign markets.

“To enter the market in any of ASEAN countries, the products must abide by the standard requirement of those nations,” said Phanith, referring to the international food standard system ISO 22000.

But the certification process is expensive, potentially shutting the doors for many local businesses.

“In general, the standard cost is around $10,000 for a consultation. It may increase from $50,000 to $60,000 if human resources training and building adjustment are needed,” Phanith said.

Tang Srang, owner of Kheang Kheand beverages, a small drink-maker in Phnom Penh with just 10 staff, said she hoped to receive certification before 2015, but in reality, the price-tag makes achieving it almost impossible.

“I really want my products to be recognised when ASEAN integration comes, but the thing is that I have very little capital and there is still very limited support for our product from the Cambodian consumer,” she said.

“I want to get those certificates, but I do not dare to get loans from the bank. The interest rate is too high,” she added.

La Min, owner of Nacha Food, said he faced similar issues in raising capital to pay for the certification consultation process and any subsequent changes he would have to make to his existing operation.

“If we had to move to producing by using machines, it would require us to have a bigger area for production. And for a smaller producer like us, it simply won’t work and I would need a lot of money to do so,” he said.

“In fact, I may have to close down production once integration comes. I have nothing that will compete with others,” Min said. Meanwhile, the owner of one of the few local SMEs that is in the process of attaining HACCP and GMP certification says the process, while expensive, is a matter of consumer trust, not so much competition.

Sen Sokly has been running Khmer Mekong Food (KMF), a fruit drink company also in Phnom Penh, for more than nine years. And after spending more than $10,000 so far on just consulting services to meet the international standards, she says it’s a small price to pay for consumer confidence.

“It is not easy to gain recognition from customers at first. Most Cambodians are not confident about the quality of Cambodian made products,” she said, adding that KMF will receive GMF and HACCP certifications in June, which in turn should promote her brand as a trusted product.

“I did not make any revenue in the first four years. Most people are concerned about the hygiene of the products even though we have the label of confirmation of the quality and nutrition,” she added.

Currently stocked in shopping malls, restaurants and guest houses, and in various petrol stations, Sokly says she is now setting her sights on attaining the ISO 22000 certification to someday export overseas.
 

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Home Energy Reactor
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
“In general, the standard cost is around $10,000 for a consultation. It may increase from $50,000 to $60,000 if human resources training and building adjustment are needed,” Phanith said.
If you don't have money to ensure food safety, you should not be in the food business.
 

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Home Energy Reactor
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bottle Water is also a problem, there are so many brand selling so cheaply I doubt which is safe, I have see bottle water that leak before we open it (that is every bottle out of the box). Which means it is not sealed, which means even if the water was good from the beginning, it is contaminated.
 

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RAWR ROAR RAWR
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I had tree roots are in a hotel bottled water before
 

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Home Energy Reactor
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Food safety needs tightening http://www.phnompenhpost.com/food-safety-needs-tightening

The Cambodian government will introduce a food-safety law later this year that would see the Kingdom adopt a set of national food safety standards and ensure greater coordination across ministries, according to a health official.

Aing Hoksrun, chief of the food bureau at the Department of Drugs and Food, said the law was being drafted and will apply to all kinds of food, including street food.

Speaking at workshop on food safety, co-organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of France in Cambodia and Eurocham, in Phnom Penh yesterday, Hoksurn said that hygiene standards was a major concern when it came to attracting foreign tourists.

“Cambodia does not have a food safety law. We just have a prakas, which is signed by a minister,” he said.

The food and beverage industry is currently regulated by an inter-ministerial prakas, which sees six different ministries overlooking different aspects of food safety, Hoksun said.

According to Didier Fontenille, director at the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, a bio-medical research lab, there are currently 452 food safety standards being passed around different ministries, but only 12 have been officially published so far. A clear set of standards are needed to help guide business, he said.

“It is a business. So if you want to develop tourism and if you want to export you have to follow the rules and regulations,” he said.

In 2009, the Pasteur Institute conducted tests on raw chicken meat available in Phnom Penh’s chicken market and found that 46 per cent of the samples showed traces of salmonella. However, four years later, the rate of salmonella had dropped, possibly due to better education among vendors.

“We know that it is present. And because we know that, my feeling is that is it is now possible to progress and manage it. It is not to make people afraid, but it exists,” Fontenille added.

In the absence of a wide-ranging food safety law, many food and beverage businesses are adopting third party standards, such as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.

The HAACP based on the Codex Alimentarius, a collection of internationally recognised standards relating to food production and safety, which prescribes seven principles and 12 steps to ensure safe food production and processing. The process to get this certification is not easy and can take a couple of years.

But it is difficult to get food suppliers to follow these rules and maintain quality standards, according to Celine Serriere, managing director at Blue Pumpkin.

She said that Blue Pumpkin is currently following HACCP, but the challenge was “explaining to a chicken supplier that they cannot deliver meat in a bag and that it has to come in a case filled with ice”.

She added that of the 30 suppliers they have only six that can provide food tracking information, or details about the origin of the meat and how it is transported.

“We are asking only basic, minimal information now,” Serriere said.

Food suppliers will have to give greater detail once a comprehensive set of standards have been introduced, she added.

Serriere said education and training is critical, both with suppliers and her staff. Ensuring high standards should not become a robotic exercise, rather a process to get people to care about ensuring food safety.

“We have to go through this process because food safety is too important and it can break your image or make a business completely fold,” she said.
 
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