Food poisoning strikes 27 monks and nuns in Cambodia

Pech Sotheary of the Khmer Times reports that 27 monks and nuns from Battambang province’s Bavel district were struck with food poisoning after consuming large amounts of soy milk.

District police chief Oeum Tith said yesterday that 14 monks and 13 nuns from the Bavel pagoda started showing symptoms of food poisoning after an ordination ceremony. They are all in a stable condition after being sent to the commune’s health center.

 “The main cause is likely the homemade soy milk because about 10 to 15 minutes after they drank it, they started displaying symptoms of food poisoning. However we’re still waiting on the official results from the experts,” Mr. Tith said.

Provincial health department officer Voeung Bun Reth said a preliminary investigation showed the tainted soy milk to have been the cause, coupled with the fact that the recently-ordained monks had consumed it in large amounts as a food substitute.

 “Young monks aren’t used to skipping dinner. So they drank too much soy milk after they were ordained yesterday morning,” he said.

 “Once they are ordained, they cannot have dinner based on the rules of the religion, so they drank too much soy milk instead, which caused them to vomit. But now they’re better and there is no problem.” He also urged anyone producing or consuming food products to pay special attention to food safety guidelines to avoid making consumers ill.

Watermelons suspected: 21 Cambodian monks sickened

Twenty-one monks became ill with diarrhea and vomiting after eating watermelons at the cultural celebration of Bun Pkar in Battambang province.  

monks.bad.habitsAs of yesterday afternoon, two of the ailing monks were still in the hospital in critical condition. 

Others had returned to their Koun Klong pagoda of Prey Domrei village in Moung Russey district, where the celebration took place yesterday and the suspected tainted fruit was eaten.

The district police chief, Kith Heang, said: “After questioning, during the celebration that day, some villagers claimed that they bought some watermelons from the market and some bought it from a fruit seller on the street in the village to offer to the monks. 

They really had no idea that the watermelons were poisoned.”

After their investigation, police are certain the fruit was poisoned. They urged any villager suffering symptoms to be treated at the hospital.