The Kingdom’s top consumer protection agency on June 17 destroyed nearly 30,000 bottles of dong quai wine with high methanol content in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town, where seven died after consuming the tainted hooch.
Dong quai, also known as female ginseng or by its botanical name Angelica sinensis, is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine which, according to Australian naturopathic clinician Angela Hywood, is used to regulate menstrual cycles and is overall regarded as a “female reproductive tonic”.
The Ministry of Commerce’s Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CCF) destroyed the 27,756 bottles of wine in the presence of provincial prosecutor and deputy governor Ros Sophany and officials from relevant provincial departments.
The CCF said that samples taken from the wine had up to 14 per cent methanol and that the toxic moonshine had killed seven, including a Thai national.
The Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Health said the production of the wine was in violation of Chapter 4, Article 18 of the Law on the Management of Quality and Safety of Products and Services.
The department did not disclose where the wines were seized, or whether anyone had been arrested in connection with their production.
Article 18 of the law prohibits contaminated food products that do not meet bacteriological or other sanitary requirements. Other articles state that violators face between one month and one year in prison, and could be hit with a fine of five to ten million riel ($1,250 to $2,500).