Mekong Institute (MI), together with TWM consultant and the Institute of Standards of Cambodia (ISC), has successfully delivered the localized training on Food Safety Management Tools in Food Manufacturing at Bella Restaurant, Phnom Penh, Cambodia on September 18-19, 2018.
Twenty-one participants from agro-food processing enterprises attended the training course. The program aimed to enhance the knowledge of participants on food safety standards, as well as build their understanding of the requirements of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) based on Codex Alimentarius. Participants were introduced to the basic principles of food safety, hygiene and sanitation, as well as food safety hazards and how to adequately control them.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Ly Tin, Deputy Director of Department of Certification of ISC, highlighted the challenges of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in meeting national and international requirements for food safety. According to him, old practices continue to prevail as most of the SMEs have limited knowledge and skills in implementing food safety requirements in their processing plants. Some are unaware of the standards that exist in particular those specific to their industry. He explained that SMEs might not be aware of the added value of standards for their particular enterprise. They may regard standards as a necessary evil rather than as a powerful tool with which to meet their business objectives. The training, he emphasized, is therefore important to address this lack of awareness of food safety standards and increase the capacity of food processing SMEs.
Meanwhile, Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, Director of MI’s Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department, acknowledged the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP) for its financial support to the PROSAFE Project, and the organizing team for arranging the training. She then provided a brief introduction to the MI PROSAFE Project and explained the approach to promote food safety along the food supply chain. Noting the valuable role of SMEs as productive drivers of economic growth and development of Cambodia, Ms. Medialdia reiterated the importance of harnessing their knowledge and skills on food safety to increase their competitiveness in trading while ensuring that they produce safe and high quality food for consumers.
“An important reason for SMEs not getting involved in food safety standard is often simply a lack of knowledge about the process. Specific training, particularly this training, can support SMEs in understanding and implementing the requirements to develop and improve their food safety management systems. This training is also serving as the platform to build up a food safety network among SMEs and relevant agencies to support each other,” she further explained.
The training was spearheaded by Mr. Song Khenglean and Mr. Ly Tin who attended the Regional Training of Trainer on Food Safety Promotion at MI in July this year.