The Law on Food Safety which was promulgated on 8 June 2022 obliges food business operators (such as food business owners or manufacturers, processors, packagers, wholesalers, retailers, and distributers) (“Operators”) to immediately notify the competent authorities of problems with the food products and cooperate with the authorities to implement measures to avoid or minimize risks caused by the food, as well as to trace, recall, and withdraw unsafe food products from the market.
The Royal Government of Cambodia issued Sub-Decree 13 on Conditions, Formalities and Procedure for Tracing and Food Recall dated 6 January 2023 which grants the Consumer Protection Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (“CCF”) the power to trace and withdraw food within its jurisdiction.
On 22 February 2023, the Ministry of Commerce (“MOC”) issued Prakas 080 on the Form and Formalities for Recalling Unsafe and Non-compliant Food to set out the procedure for recalling unsafe and non-compliant food from the market and/or consumers in Cambodia.
What Kind of Foods are Considered Unsafe or Non-Compliant?
“Unsafe food” is defined as food which is harmful to consumers when it is prepared or consumed in accordance with its purpose. On the other hand, “non-compliant food” refers to food that does not comply with documents which stipulate the product’s characteristics or processes related to its production method and applicable administrative provisions which require mandatory compliance and the logo, packaging, marking, or labelling applicable to products, processing, or production method.
In this context, “food” refers to products or substances which are processed, semi-processed, or not processed for human consumption including beverages, gums, and any other substances which are used in production, preparation, and treatment of food except for cosmetics, tobacco products, or products used for medication.
Procedures and Formalities for Food Recall
Operators must prepare a standard operating procedure for food recall beforehand to ensure an effective process.
Upon its awareness or a receipt of information that the food is unsafe or non-compliant with technical regulations or following receipt of a recall order from the MOC, the Operators must carry out food recall. In brief, the procedure must include the following steps:
(1) The Operators must notify the CCF in writing and provide details of the food to be withdrawn in accordance with a prescribed form issued by the MOC. This form includes, among others, information related to detailed description of reasons for withdrawal, company’s details, product’s details, distribution details, and the plan for communication to consumers;
(2) Upon receipt of the notification, CCF will issue a public warning message about the food to be recalled;
(3) The Operators must also issue a public statement regarding the recalled food in accordance with a prescribed form issued by the MOC;
(4) The Operators must also submit a report detailing the food recall in accordance with a prescribed form issued by the MOC.
(5) Withdrawn food must be placed under control of the MOC until such food is destroyed or re-processed for other purposes (but not for consumption), a procedure which requires approval from the MOC and/or the relevant authorities;
(6) Upon completion of the procedure, the Operators, through any possible means, must submit a request to end the procedure to the CCF. The Operators must also demonstrate to the CCF its rectification actions and measures undertaken to avoid the future occurrence; and
(7) Upon satisfaction of all the foregoing procedures, CCF will issue a formal declaration to end the recall procedure.
Non-compliance with the abovementioned requirements may subject the Operators to a written warning, a suspension, or a revocation of a certificate or a license or a closure of business, as well as transitional fines.
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The information provided here is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from qualified legal counsel for all specific situations.