After a trip to the local corner store for snacks on Saturday, two children turned ill and a 6-year-old girl died on the way to the hospital.
The three kids walked together to a local store in Dambe district, Tbong Khmum province, and bought a chocolate candy and a cake, according to Keo Vannak, director of the health department.
The cake was made by Vong Nata in Vietnam, while the chocolate Sakura snack is a Japanese-style sweet whose origin hasn’t been confirmed.
“The Sakura snack is suspected of poisoning the victim … since the child convulsed, vomited and then died after she ate a large amount of it. However, I sent samples of both to the Ministry of Health already,” Vannak said.
Hoksrun Aing, director of the Health Ministry’s Food Safety Bureau, said the two other children are expected to recover. He added that the cause of sickness was still unclear. Aing said he couldn’t recall many incidents where people died because of contaminated imports.
However, samples of meatballs from Thailand, instant noodles and ice have all been found to contain borax, a toxic preservative that can cause nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain and even liver cancer. In 2012, a New Zealand dairy giant recalled baby formula that had been shipped internationally, including to Cambodia, after traces of a botulism-causing bacteria were found in the products.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LAIGNEE BARRON