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Report reveals scale of food poisoning

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Vendors sell food. KT/Mai Vireak

At least four people died and more than 900 suffered food or wine poisoning in the first eight months of the year, according to a Health Ministry report.

Speaking at a workshop in Phnom Penh yesterday on measures to prevent the problem, Ly Sovann, director of the Communicable Disease Control Department, said 947 people had become sick and four died in 28 cases of food poisoning and two cases of wine poisoning.

“We treated cases of food poisoning in a timely manner so no one was killed, but four people died due to wine poisoning, because of high levels of methanol in the wine,” he said. 

He said the worst offenders in food poisoning cases were Khmer noodles, which made 335 people ill, while 12 people were poisoned by cassava and 11 people suffered blowfish poisoning.

Cases of food and wine poisoning in the first eight months of the year fell compared with 2016, when 1,104 people were affected and 15 died.

Mr Sovann called on people to properly store food, maintain hygiene and avoid using expired foods.

The Communicable Disease Control Department last week issued a reminder to citizens to eat properly cleaned, cooked and stored foods over the Pchum Ben festival to avoid food poisoning.

It warned that wine poisoning could be caused when methanol levels exceeded 0.15 percent.

Health Minister Mam Bun Heng advised people to practice simple precautions when preparing food to prevent food poisoning, such as using clean water, cooking food properly and wash hands with soap regularly.

“Everyone can play an important role in promoting food safety, from good hygiene practices to learning how to store food after cooking,” he said.

According to a government official, the Health Ministry has national and sub-national working teams of more than 2,000 people to respond to cases of food and wine poisoning across the country, while victims receive free care.

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