Kampot provincial governor has ordered district authorities to shut down all illegal wineries after 12 people in Kampong Trach district’s Svay Tong Khang Tbong commune died from suspected wine poisoning.
In Kandal province, three people are also believed to have died from tainted alcohol in Khsach Kandal district.
In Kampot, provincial governor Cheav Tay sent a letter on July 5 to all district governors to suspend unauthorised production and distribution of wine which did not adhere to the proper standards. He said such wine posed a deadly risk to consumer health.
“The Kampot Provincial Administration directs all district governors to inspect and suspend all illegal wineries that are operating without permission from the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation,” he said.
Svay Tong Khang Tbong commune chief Lorn Sokha told The Post on July 5 he had received information that three more people had died from wine poisoning, bringing the total number of deaths in this case to 12, while nine people were hospitalised. All the dead victims were aged 33 to 60.
The Ministry of Commerce’s Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CCF) said on July 4 that the deaths were likely due to wine poisoning. It said those victims had bought wine from different establishments in the commune.
In a separate case in Kandal province, three people also died on July 4 from suspected wine poisoning. The incident happened in Khsach Kandal district’s Koh Choram commune, according to commune chief Kray Saroeun.
Saroeun said CCF officials were collecting wine samples for testing to confirm whether the wine was the cause of the death. Nevertheless, he said those who died were alcoholics.
He said authorities had banned the selling of rice and traditional herbal wine, but people were still able to purchase it. He said authorities would look into the matter.
“In my community, I already announced to the people to stop selling such wine. We also collected wine and banned its sale because we were afraid that it would kill more people,” he said.