The methanol content of some samples of rice wine, which poisoned dozens of villagers at funerals in Kompong Chhnang province and killed 15, were found to be 10 times above safe levels, a Health Ministry official said on Wednesday.
The methanol-tainted wine left 92 people hospitalized after they drank it at funerals over the past month. “We found samples containing between 0.2 and 1.47 percent of methanol,” said Ly Sovann, a ministry spokesman.
Methanol levels in wine higher than 0.15 percent can be dangerous, a provincial health department official said on Monday.
Dr. Sovann said the people who died had each drunk more than 500 milliliters of the rice wine.
The ministry has directed 2,000 health officials across the country to educate the public about the dangers of moonshine rice wine, he added.
“Please stop drinking rice wine that comes from unspecified sources,” he said.
Winemaker Thann Vy, 48, who produced the toxic wine, faces charges that carry a prison term of seven to 15 years, provincial court spokesman Chhuon Siven said on Monday.
sokhean@cambodiadaily.com
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