Eleven villagers have died in southern Cambodia’s Kandal province after consuming locally-made rice wine discovered to have contained a high level of methanol, officials said on Wednesday.
The incident occurred in Ta Skor village in Lvea Em district’s Sarika Keo commune.
The victims drank adulterated rice wine at a funeral of their neighbour on May 10, said Kuoy Bunthoeun, Chief of Kandal Provincial Health Department.
“They had died subsequently after consuming the wine,’’ he told Xinhua over the telephone.
“The adulterated wine’s samples had been taken for lab testing at the National Institute of Public Health in Phnom Penh and the results, on Monday, showed that the wine contained high levels of methanol.’’
The high concentration of methanol in the wine was far in excess of the legal limit of 0.15 per cent, he said.
Bunthoeun added that the department had sought cooperation from local authorities to close all rice wine distilleries and stalls in the district to prevent more deaths.
The authorities have already seized the rice wine from some 20 stalls in the district and advised all vendors to stop selling it temporarily, Lvea Em district chief Kan Sokkay said.
Sokkay added that all rice wine distilleries have also been temporarily shut down.
Rice wine is popular in Cambodia’s rural areas due to its cheap price.
In November, methanol-laced rice wine also left seven people dead in the central Kampong Chhnang province. (Xinhua/NAN)