Cambodia kicked off a food safety campaign, which urges school principals across the kingdom to ensure that food served in cafeterias is safe, nutritious and of good quality, the Phnom Penh Post reported on Tuesday.
Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron launched the campaign at the Preah Norodom Primary School in the capital's Daun Penh district on Monday.
Ministry Spokesman Ros Soveacha said the campaign was meant to raise awareness among relevant stakeholders such as school committees, headmasters, and cafeteria vendors and encourage them to provide healthy and clean food to students.
He said the ministry recently issued a directive that bans the selling of six kinds of food at all private and state schools.
Among those that are banned is food that had expired, alcoholic drinks, tobacco products, food with unknown sources of origin, energy drinks and food and beverages with high sugar content.
"We expect to drive this campaign to food vendors. We want to make them care more about health and hygiene and inform them of the kinds of food that should not be sold to students, especially to young children," Soveacha was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
He said that the campaign had been positively received by parents and some private companies.
The campaign will be extended this month to primary schools of Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Preah Sihanouk, and Kandal provinces.
Natascha Paddison, deputy representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Cambodia, commended the ministry's latest campaign, saying that good nutrition is essential to a child's survival, health and development.
"To build a healthy food environment for all children, we need to work together to mobilize supportive systems, such as health, water and sanitation, education and social protection - to scale up nutritional results for all children," she said.