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Laboratory of Environment & Food Safety (LEFS)

In the world, one in 10 people fall ill every year from eating contaminated food or water. 420 000 people die each year as a result.


Laboratory of Environment & Food Safety (LEFS)

In the world, one in 10 people fall ill every year from eating contaminated food or water. 420 000 people die each year as a result.

This highlights the importance of making sure the food we eat is not contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, toxins and chemicals. Food contamination can occur at any point during production, distribution and preparation.

Everyone along the production chain, from producer to consumer, has a role to play to ensure the food we eat does not cause diseases. Our mission is to assist all food operators to detect, control and prevent foodborne from farm to table and to provide quality and healthy foods. Precursor in its field, since 1995, our laboratory is involved to improve environment security in Cambodia.

We work for : Agribusiness – Tourism & Catering Industries – Individual Clients

TESTING : Our laboratory offers a wide range of analyses in all fields related to food safety

      • Microbiological control of food
      • Microbiological and physico-chemical controls of water
      • Microbiological control of working environment (surface and air)

AUDITING – CONSULTING SERVICES – LABELLING : In compliance with the highest international quality standards

      • Check of hygien conditions, control of products batches
      • Audits of catering, supermarkets and food industries by qualified experts
      • Elaboration, implementation and documentation of HACCP concepts
      • Implementation of the Quality Assurance Systems
      • Training of your managers and your staff on Good Hygienic Practice (GHP)
      • Our knowledge of the food law and labelling requirements for Europe, USA and all countries including also specific regulations

We provide you a unique contact and remain available for all question or quotation

Recommendations for Food Sampling

1. Method

      • Wash hands with soap and rinse with water
      • Disinfect hands with 70 ° alcohol
      • The sampling can be done either by the unit staff or by the technician using the sterile material
      • Place the sample taken in a sterile plastic bag
      • Identify the bag (nature of the sample, identification number, …)
      • Store the sample in the clean refrigerated chamber

2. Conditions of transport and reception

      • The sample should be brought to the laboratory as quickly as possible.
      • Transport samples in a clean refrigerated chamber at 5 ° C ± 3 ° C.
      • The information sheet must be carefully completed for each sample.

Quality Management System (QMS)

We have a well-established Quality Management System in place to ensure the integrity and the quality of our services.

We have a dedicated Quality Assurance comprised of professionals and compliance expertise who are committed to maintaining Quality Management System through:

      • Commit to accreditation ISO/IEC 17025:2017 in 2022;
      • Participation regularly in proficiency testing for food microbiological analysis (REAMA);
      • Internal control for continuous improvement;
      • Systems for documentation and traceability.

Our Quality Management System is an integral part of our commitment to providing reliable service you can trust for all aspects of laboratory operations, from method validation, sample log-in and processing to ensure that our results are accurate, reproducible, and legally defensible.


We offer Food Microbiology Testing for many kind of food to food-related industries in response to growing demand for improved food safety.

We provide food microbiological analyses:

      • Culturable bacteria at 30°C
      • Coliform bacteria
      • Escherichia coli
      • Staphylococcus aureus
      • Clostridium perfringens
      • Salmonella
      • Yeast and molds
      • Enterobacteria
      • Bacillus cereus
      • Listeria
      • Cronobacter sakazakii
      • Parasites Enumeration.

All testing uses international standard.

Recommendations for Food Sampling


      • Wash hands with soap and rinse with water;
      • Disinfect hands with 70% ethanol;
      • The sampling can be done either by the unit staff or by the technician using the sterile material;
      • Place the sample taken in a sterile plastic bag;
      • Identify the bag (nature of the sample, identification number, …);
      • Store the sample in the clean refrigerated chamber.

Conditions of transport and storage

      • The sample should be brought to the laboratory as quickly as possible;
      • Transport samples in a clean refrigerated chamber at 5 °C ± 3;
      • The information sheet must be carefully completed for each sample.

We offer Microbiology and chemical Testing for different type of water including:

      • Bottled water
      • Drinking water including Tap water, well water, filtered water, storage water…
      • Cooling tower water
      • Swimming pool

We provide water microbiological analyses:

      • Culturable bacteria at 37°C and 22°C
      • Coliform bacteria
      • Escherichia coli
      • Intestinal Enterococci
      • Spore of sulfite reducing anaerobes
      • Staphylococcus aureus
      • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
      • Salmonella
      • Legionella pneumophilla
      • Parasites Enumeration

All microbiological testing uses international standard.

Recommendations for Water Sampling

Filling procedure

Potable water from a tap

Sampling at a tap can have different purposes as shown in the table below:

      • Ensures samples are taken aseptically using clean hands or sterile gloves with protection of the sample from air drifts and splashing.
      • During filling, the inside of the bottle closure shall not come in contact with anything (fingers, ground, pocket, teeth).
      • Leave some air space in the bottle to allow for adequate shaking before analysis.
      • Close the bottle immediately.
      • Label the bottle.

Conditions of transport and storage

      • Keep the time between sampling and analysis in the laboratory as short as possible.
      • Store the sample in cool device capable of maintaining a temperature of 5 ¬∞C (¬± 3) during transport by using ice packs or melting ice.
      • Protect sample from sunlight.


Air monitoring is an important aspect of regulatory and quality control in all industrial.

Hygiene measurements define potential exposures. Health and Safety in the workplace covers a wide range of potential hazards.

The air can be a serious contamination source and contains many particles in suspension (dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, virus…).
So it is therefore essential to regularly evaluate the quality of air as they can be a serious source of contamination.

We offer the Air contamination control:

      • Aerobic plate count
      • Yeast and molds

Food contact surface is defined as any equipment or utensil which normally comes in contact with the food product or surfaces normally in contact with the product including work tables or counters, cooking equipment such as mixing bowls, and cutting boards and a surface that could cross contaminate food (refrigerator or freezer handles or worker hand) in assisted-living foodservice operations to determine the effectiveness of cleaning and sanitation.

So it is essential to regularly control of food surface contact as they can be a serious source of contamination.

For Surface control, we offer analyses:

      • Culturable microorganisms at  30°C.
      • Coliform bacteria
      • Escherichia coli
      • Coagulase positive Staphylococci
      • Salmonella
      • Yeasts and molds
      • Listeria monocytogenes

Recommendations for Surface Sampling (1-Method)

Sampling procedure

      • Locate the sampling sites.
      • Label the test tube with sufficient detail.
      • Remove a swab from the sterile wrapping and moisten the tip by immersing it in a tube containing diluents.
      • Press the tip of the swab against the wall of the tube to remove excess water.
      • Place the tip of the swab on the surface to be investigated and streak an estimated area of 20 cm2 to 100 cm2, whilst rotating the swab between thumb and forefinger in two directions at right angles
        to each other.
      • Put the swab in the tube with dilution liquid and aseptically break or cut off the stick.
      • Clean the sampled area and the templates with alcohol wipes.

Condition of transport and storage

      • Transport the samples obtained with the swab method, preferably within 4 h, to a cool box set
        at 1 °C to 4 °C.
      • Examine in the laboratory as soon as possible and not later than 24 h.


Prevalence of pesticide residuals in vegetable in Cambodia

The World Health Organization estimates 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning occur every year, resulting in an excess of 250 000 deaths. (WHO,2004). The main exposure to pesticides for humans is oral ingestion, especially by vegetables and fruits. For instance, a study on fruits and vegetables imported from Southeast Asia into four European countries found pesticide residues above maximum residue limits in 33% of samplesfrom Vietnam, 11% from Malaysia and 9% from Thailand. (Skretteberg et al., 2015).

In many developing countries, agricultural pesticide use is also rapidly increasing, particularly in Southeast Asia (Schreinemachers and Tipraqsa,2012). Annual growth in pesticide imports is estimated to be 55% for Lao, 10% for Vietnam and 7% for Thailand. (Schreinemachers et al., 2015).

Cambodia has no pesticide manufacturing capacity of its own, and most available pesticides are imported officially and illegally from neighboring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam. In 2002, Cambodia legally imported approximately 200 tons from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, France, Singapore and Taiwan (MOE, 2004). But this figure increased dramatically to 12 000 tons in 2012.

Few studies have been conducted in Cambodia on occupational pesticide exposure and associated health risks. A survey conducted by the Environmental Justice Foundation found that inappropriate pesticide use, including its timing, frequency, concentration, and type of pesticides used,are widespread. Safety measures are often ignored or misunderstood and 88% of 210 pesticide sprayers had experienced symptoms of pesticidepoisoning. A report from 2004 by the Cambodian Center for Study and Development of Agriculture (CEDAC) found that 33% of pesticides available in the Cambodian market were banned by Cambodian law and that labels were most commonly written in Vietnamese and Thai languages which areincomprehensible to Cambodian farmers. A small study in Cambodia using qualitative methods revealed that untrained sources such as neighbors orpesticide sellers trained farmers in the use of pesticides, there was a lack of appropriate personal protective equipment and that 84% used pesticides which are moderately to extremely hazardous to human health (WHO class Ia, Ib, II). Therefore, there is a need to provide more information onpesticide management practices and to determine the health impacts of pesticide use among Cambodian farmers to improve future healthinterventions.

In the framework of a research project in cooperation with ITC we plan to study the contamination by pesticides residues in commonly consumed vegetables purchased from farms and local markets in Cambodia.

Serotyping and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of Salmonella strains isolated from food products in 2016-2017

Between 2016 and 2017, we isolated 134 strains of Salmonella in different kind of food products (meat products, sea food, ready to eat food, vegetables etc.).

Following the recent results showing the high prevalence of ESBL bacteria present in meat, chicken and fish sampled from 2 different markets in Phnom Penh, we are interested in studying the AMR of Salmonella strains isolated in routine in LEFS and evaluating the risk for the consumers.

Indeed, Salmonella is one of the major causative agents of foodborne infections. Salmonellosis becomes more dangerous when strains resistant to several antibiotics are found in food, especially in chicken. The study aim to determine the antibiotic resistance profile andgenotypic characteristic of multi-drug resistant isolates and study the serotype distribution of Salmonella among different kind of foodproducts.

Auditing and Training

We provide audit and consulting services including:

      • Check of hygiene conditions, control of products batches
      • Audits of catering, supermarkets and food industries by qualified experts.

All food handlers should have some form of food safety training to ensure that they know how to produce food that is safe to eat and to ensure they can implement and maintain effective food safety management systems, as well as understanding their role in managing food.

Training your staff and managers is an important step to developing a food safety

Our training ensure that your organization complies with standard food hygiene and food safety regulations and able to decrease the chances of food poisoning to protect your staff, your reputation and the public.

We issue a training certificate to those attending our courses.

Support to National Authorities

The following summarizes key support to Cambodian National Authorities during 2019 as part of our ongoing programs and projects.

For several years, IPC has supported different laboratories in Cambodia, including the National Public Health Laboratory, the Food and Drug Laboratory of Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, Cam Control Laboratory, Ministry of Commerce, National Animal Health and Production Research Institute (NAHPRI), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and within the private sector.

In 2019, as part of a national monitoring program, the Ministry of Health sent IPC 503 samples through sampling campaigns of industrial foods imported from different countries.


Teaching & Training


The Malaria Molecular Epidemiology Unit staff are involved in the international master’s degree in infectious disease at the University ofHealth Science Phnom Penh and the University of Paris Saclay. Benoit Witkowski teaches a 2.5h course on malaria parasites evolution; Amélie Vantaux teaches a 2.5h course on host manipulation by parasites, while Nimol Khim teaches a 4h bioinformatics course. 

PhD students:

      • Melissa Mairet-Khedim: P. falciparum resistance (since January 2017)
      • Camille Roesch: biology of P. vivax invasion (since January 2017)
      • Kutub Ashraf: P. vivax liver stage (since April 2018)
      • Anais Pepey: Ecology of malaria transmission (since November 2018)


      • Beatrice Tappy (February-July 2019) Synergy of antimalarial drugs
      • Daniel Calixto (March-July 2019) Novel antimalarial drugs
      • IPIN researcher Mobility: Sandrine Nsango (March-May 2019) DHA-PPQ resistance in Cameroon



Head of Laboratory

YITH Vuthy

Deputy Head of Laboratory

THT Sopheak

Quality Manager

Main Nacional Partners

Main International Partners