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Illness, faintings after factory-funded meals

Illness, faintings after factory-funded meals

About 150 garment workers fainted at two factories owned by the same firm in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district yesterday, after lunch provided to employees allegedly caused food poisoning.

Workers at the Shen Zhou and Daqian Textile factories, both owned by Shen Zhou Group and both suppliers to Puma, Adidas and Nike, began fainting at about 8am yesterday, Worker Friendship Union Federation president Seang Sambath said.

“I suggest the company examines the meals they provide workers, especially the chicken,” Sambath said yesterday. “The company must ensure hygienic meals.”

Many employees at Daqian, which accounted for about 100 of the faintings, started showing symptoms of food poisoning, including diarrhoea, soon after eating lunch on Tuesday, said Vey Srey Moa, a worker there.

Most worked through the sickness after eating the questionable meat, Srey Moa said as she recovered at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital.

“We ate chicken at lunch, and I thought the chicken looked sour,” she said. “After eating it, we got diarrhoea, and two days later, we fainted.”

About 61 employees at the Shen Zhou factory had first fainted on Tuesday after eating the same chicken.

Then, approximately 50 Shen Zhou workers still feeling the effects of the meal fainted yesterday morning, Chan Soda, an employee who collapsed yesterday, said.

“I had no strength and could not stand up at work,” Soda added.

Those who fainted were brought to Khmer-Soviet, Independence clinic, Mol Met clinic and Choam Chao clinic, Por Sen Chey District Governor Hem Darith said.

Yesterday’s incident occurred two days after about 50 employees at the New Wide factory in Por Sen Chey fainted after allegedly being exposed to insecticide fumes.

The high volume of workers fainting highlights the need for more meticulous workplace inspections and higher wages, which would enable workers to buy healthier food, Yeng Virak, executive director for the Community Legal Education Center, said.

Managers at Shen Zhou and Daqian could not be reached yesterday.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN

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