The spate of deaths from wine poisoning in several provinces has prompted authorities elsewhere to pay attention and shut down unauthorised rice and herbal wine production facilities to avoid a similar fate.
In Kep province, governor Som Piseth instructed that all district and relevant authorities inspect and suspend all illegally operated wineries, fearing that his province could face a similar fate to neighbouring Kampot where many died of wine poisoning in recent days.
In a letter to district governors and relevant authorities on July 6, Piseth said a ban must be imposed on illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit wine and wineries that did not follow proper production standards or without a permit from the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation.
If producers want to continue their operations, they need permission from the ministry.
Ung Vuthy, the provincial hall’s administration chief, told The Post on July 6 that the letter came after people in neighbouring Kampot province died from wine poisoning. He said the governor feared a repeat of that in Kep.
According to Vuthy, wine and alcohol sales have long been banned to prevent people from gathering to drink in large numbers which could spread Covid-19. Although there were no incidences in the province, authorities wanted to raise awareness about the matter.
“The provincial governor has now instructed relevant departments to work with district authorities to determine how many wine producers there are in Kep province in order to prevent wine poisoning like in Kampot,” he said.
In Kampot’s Kampong Trach district where 12 people died in recent day, Svay Tong Khang Tbong commune chief Lon Sokha said on July 6 that there was no new deaths besides the 12 fatalities.