Ratanakkiri provincial health department officials are testing blood samples to find out why nearly 200 villagers came down with food poisoning at a funeral in Ou Chum district on Friday.
Provincial health department director Oung Ratana said yesterday that the villagers suffered vomiting and diarrhoea after eating unsafe food at the funeral in Samaki commune, noting that they were sent to the provincial referral hospital.
He said that all of them recovered and have been sent home, adding that officials are now trying to pinpoint which food caused the poisoning.
“They ate food which was not hygienic,” Mr Ratana said. “We appeal to villagers to only eat food which is cooked properly.”
Khat Soveng, a resident in Ou Chum district, said that most of the victims are ethnic minorities who sometimes do not cook food in a hygienic way.
“They may have eaten contaminated food at the funeral event,” she said. “The local authorities previously went to the commune to teach the villagers about food safety.”
On Monday, nearly 50 students at Pong Ro secondary school suffered food poisoning in Kampong Thom province’s Stoung district.
Nget Narin, of Kampong Thom’s Information Department, reported that the 10-year-olds had eaten food bought from vendors on school premises, after which they vomited and had headaches.
In September, the Health Ministry issued guidelines on how to prepare food to reduce cases of food poisoning.
It said that people should always use clean water and fresh food, wash hands with soap before and during the preparation of food and before meals, wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking or eating, and use clean cooking utensils.
The statement added that animal and bird meat, eggs and seafood should be cooked above 60 degree Celsius and raw and cooked food should be stored separately. It noted that people should not consume food that has gone stale.
The statement noted that those who have symptoms of food poisoning such as headaches, vomiting, dizziness, or difficulty breathing, should be rushed to the nearest health centre or hospital for consultation.