More than 500 students in Mondulkiri province received special education about the importance of healthy nutrition, while learning about the recent bans on unhealthy food in schools.

Officials from the Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate General (CCF) are currently conducting special training sessions at educational institutions throughout the Kingdom.

The Mondulkiri CCF worked with officials from the Department of Commerce to conduct outreach with the students of Hun Sen Mondulkiri Secondary and High School in Sen Monorom town.

Phan Oun, the head of the CCF, told The Post on March 5 that more than 500 students had attended the training session.

“CCF and provincial officials also distributed educational posters depicting 100 food hazards to students and teachers,” he said.

Oun added that officials from the capital and provincial branches throughout the country will be running similar training sessions in the near future.

“Our outreach programmes are beginning in March, although the rollout will vary from province to province. Some areas will take longer than others, as they have far more schools. We need to visit all of them,” he continued.

According to UNICEF, children in the entire East Asia and Pacific region, including Cambodia, are living in a food environment that promotes the sale and consumption of unhealthy, poor-quality food and drink.

UNICEF found that more than one in three teens consumed at least one sugary drink a day, and that more than half of them ate fast food at least once a week. Less than half of them ate enough fruits and vegetables every day.

The organisation claimed that the poor diets were often a result of them being surrounded by advertising for low-quality food.

In response to these risks, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has announced a ban on the sale of unhealthy food on school grounds.

The ban includes expired and unlabelled food, alcohol and tobacco products, sugary drinks and confectionary. In addition to these banned foods, foods that pose a high risk to health are also forbidden, including foods that are high in sugar, salt, fat or artificial colouring. The guidelines follow the recommendations of the WHO.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha welcomed support for nutritional health and food safety support in all educational institutions.

“The participation of all stakeholders, including students, parents and local authorities is very important if we are going to make this ban effective,” he said.