Contaminating in Cambodia; The Growth of Food Insecurity

Authors: Karonech Chreng*,
Topics: Asia
Keywords: Food Insecurity, Foreign Investment, Labor migration, Subsistence agriculture, Food contamination
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Committee Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Even though the residents in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, have been gaining access to a more varied and greater supply of food in the city’s marketplaces, their sense of food insecurity has recently been increasing, not decreasing as one would expect. Their insecurity stems from their growing awareness that many of their food choices are not safe to eat. In 2016, Switzerland’s Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office tested vegetables and spices imported from Cambodia and Thailand and found that 53% were contaminated with unacceptable levels of pesticides or trace amounts of banned weed killers. In that same year, there were over 1,000 reports, from across Cambodia of people becoming ill from the food they ate. My study will investigate the causes of the contamination and how it developed over time. I will examine the roles that lax governmental food quality regulations, labor migration, extensive importation of Chinese labor to construct Chinese-funded structural improvements, land grabbing, and the difficulty of finding reliable food sellers that do not sell food heavily contaminated with pesticides all played in the buildup to the current situation. I will make use of survey results from Phnom Penh residents and utilize insights gained from empirical research to reach my conclusions.

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