MORE than 80 schoolchildren in Cambodia have fallen ill after eating contaminated food distributed by a local volunteer group, officials said.
The primary school students in the southern province of Takeo became sick Tuesday after eating fried rice, sausage and milk.
Chea Vann, the governor of Tram Kak district, where the incident took place, told police that all the victims had the same symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting.
He said Wednesday that the children have been sent to hospitals, and that all were in stable condition.
Such mass outbreaks of food poisoning are not uncommon in Cambodia, where checks on food are rare and safety regulations lax.
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Xinhua news agency quoted Tram Kak district deputy police chief Sok Sochea as saying that the children fell sick about four hours after they ate the contaminated food.
“They all have the same symptoms: vomiting and diarrhea,” he said, adding the children were rushed to hospital shortly after reporting their symptoms.
The provincial food safety bureau, he said, were sent samples of the tainted fried rice for examination.
According to the police officer, a group of students from a school in Phnom Penh had distributed the contaminated food to the schoolchildren in Wat Tatai primary school.
The group has since paid a visit to the food poisoning victims in the hospital where they are in stable condition. They reportedly offered well-wishes and handed out cash donations.
Last year, some 37 Buddhist monks fell ill in southeastern Kampong Cham province after eating tainted food, leading to a health ministry circular urging the public to be cautious with food hygiene to avoid illnesses.
Additional reporting from the Associated Press