At least 19 people were killed and 172 became ill after consuming adulterated rice wine in north-eastern Cambodia, announced Sunday the Ministry of Health.
“In laboratory tests helped to realize that the high level of methanol in wine had caused these deaths,” said Ly Sovann, spokesman for the ministry.
The authorities of the province of Kratie, where people started falling ill on November 19 after drinking the alcohol, ordered all liquor producers and rice wine sellers to close shop.
According to examinations performed on the drink, certain wines had a degree of 12% alcohol, so that the normal level is 0.15%.
No arrests have been made so far.
The Health Minister, Mam Bunheng said that Cambodians had to cease all rice wine consumption made without permission from the authorities.
The ministry said its services were working with WHO to strengthen food security in the country.
For six of the dead, had previously announced that the cause of death was dog meat consumption. But the tests showed that the rice wine was in fact at the origin, the ministry said.
In 2010, 17 Cambodians were killed in the eastern province of Kampong Cham after drinking rice wine which was contained in a bottle of herbicide.
Mass food poisoning are not uncommon in the country: end of 2014, more than 280 people suffered food poisoning after eating noodles at engagement.
More generally, sanitary conditions are very poor, especially in rural areas.