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Authorities have said that methanol in some samples of wine were found to be more than 100 times the non-toxic level as two separate incidents of alcohol poisoning have seen rising death tolls.
PHNOM PENH--Kampot provincial authorities have temporarily detained two wine producers after 10 people died and a further 56 were hospitalized after drinking tainted alcohol at a funeral ceremony on May 21.
As part of the ongoing investigation into the cause of death, Aun Khon, governor of Kampot’s Kampong Thrach District, announced 65 liters of wine have been confiscated from producers, retailers and customers.
He said that authorities have detained and are interrogated two winemakers and closed seven liquor stalls in response to the incident which is being treated as a case of alcohol poisoning.
The 10 deaths occurred between May 21 and May 25, but the authorities’ investigation has uncovered that more people had purchased the same wine and taken it home to drink.
“If you have bought wine from stalls or small breweries in this area, dump the wine and for those who have already consumed it, seek immediate medical attention,” he said, adding that the wine contains high levels of methanol—a practice the government is trying to stamp out.
The Ministry of Health said that according to the results obtained from the National Health Products Quality Control Center showed that six of the 11 samples of wine were found to contain methanol levels between 0.2 percent and 11.9 percent which is considered highly toxic levels given that non-toxic levels should not exceed 0.1 percent.
As such, the Ministry of Health has said that the 10 deaths and 56 hospitalizations are likely due to alcohol poisoning, but noted that some patients have been discharged from hospital and are recovering as of May 25.
Health authorities from Kandal Province also announced that two more people have died of alcohol poisoning in relation to the May 10 funeral ceremony that also served tainted wine. This brings the death toll in Lvea Em District, Kandal Province up to 14 as a result of alcohol poisoning.