The Ministry of Health has issued a statement advising the public to take precautions against rice wine and food poisoning, as well as H5N1 “bird flu” virus, during the upcoming Chinese and Khmer New Years.
Released on Thursday and obtained by The Post on Sunday, the statement reminded people of higher rice wine and food poisoning risks during the holidays as people tend to eat and drink more than the usual.
The statement also detailed the number of H5N1-related cases between 2005 and 2014. At least 56 cases of bird flu had been recorded during the period, with 37 ending in death, it read.
The ministry also called on relevant organisations and authorities to conduct inspections and educate the public on prevention measures against rice wine and food poisoning.
The ministry listed some recommendations in the statement. The people are advised not to consume liquor containing methanol exceeding the maximum allowable level of 0.15 per cent. It also advised the public not to touch dead or live birds which have not been checked by veterinarians.
Furthermore, it is not advisable to consume vegetables with a high chemical content, uncooked fish and meat and spoiled food, the statement said.
It also urged food producers and distributors to refrain from using banned chemical substances on fruits and vegetables, as well as distribute liquor without a licence. The latter includes rice wine that is not brewed in compliance with the technical procedures set by the ministry.
Nheb Sron, the director of Takeo province’s agricultural department, told The Post on Sunday that during Chinese and Khmer New Years, his administration will transport thousands of chickens, ducks and tonnes of vegetables to Phnom Penh.
“Takeo province will not import chickens, ducks or vegetables from Vietnam. On the contrary, after receiving technical support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, our farmers have successfully raised and produced more than 5,000 chickens, ducks and three tonnes of vegetables,” Sron said.
The Kratie provincial health department director Chhneang Sovutha echoed the ministry’s recommendations on maintaining hygiene.
He said: “Wash hands with water and soap before cooking and eating, as well as after going to the washroom. Producers must be honest with consumers. They must not add chemical substances to food. Following these rules will ensure good health.”