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Death toll from deadly wine rises to 11

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Police visit alcohol poisoning site in Sarika commune in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district. Facebook

Death toll from deadly wine rises to 11

The number of people who died from drinking wine containing methanol in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district rose to 11 on May 19, with one person remaining hospitalised.

General Directorate of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression (CCF) deputy director-general Dim Theng told The Post that each person drank about 70ml to 1 litre of methanol.

"I would like to confirm that the laboratory’s results for the wine that killed people in Lvea Em district revealed the methanol content for the herbal wine was 11.3 per cent, and the rice wine was 7.3 per cent,” he said.

According to Theng, officials are still investigating whether the victims or a wine seller added the methanol.

However, Theng said that most alcohol poisoning is not caused by the production of alcohol, but by alcoholics or alcohol sellers who mixed it with too much methanol.

"Most Cambodians do not understand that methanol is toxic. They mistakenly think that methanol is the main ingredient and makes it strong. They don’t understand that it can lead to death, so they just add it," he said.

According to Theng, methanol can also cause blindness and brain damage.

Lvea Em district police chief Heng Sophal said experts were still waiting for the victims’ test results.

He said authorities had closed some distribution depots and wine shops, and placed a temporary ban on selling or producing rice wine and herbal wine.

According to Sophal, the wine poisoning occurred at a funeral on May 10 in Skor village in the district’s Sarikakeo commune.

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