Authorities in Kampong Chhnang province, in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CCF), conducted a September 12 workshop on enhancing the safety standards of rice wine production.

The workshop provided information about consumer protection laws and safe rice wine production to 280 participants.

Prak Karuna, head of the CCF provincial branch, told The Post that the scope of the workshop extended beyond the food industry. It aimed to engage law enforcement agencies, relevant officials across the province, and town and district administrations.

“We addressed safety concerns related to traditional medicinal alcohol production in a previous workshop. This time, we have broadened our focus to include food safety and consumer protection laws, as new laws were recently promulgated which incorporate guidelines that address unsafe rice wine production,” he explained.

He noted that while incidences of rice wine poisoning in the province had decreased, substandard rice production persisted. This meant further dissemination and enforcement of the law were necessary to prevent potential poisonings.

He said that following a serious series of tainted wine incidents in 2020, police shut down nine rice wine production facilities and detained several individuals.

“A few rice wine producers are still adding methanol to rice wine, which endangers consumers. We have had one or two suspected incidents of rice wine poisoning, but our investigations confirmed that these were actually cases of food poisoning, and fortunately did not pose a life-threatening risk,” he added.

Phan Oun, the director-general of the CCF, outlined plans to disseminate further information about safe rice wine production, as well as food safety and consumer protection laws, throughout the year.

He said another workshop would be held on September 13 in Pursat province. Similar events are scheduled for eight additional provinces.

“Our objective is to bolster knowledge about food safety and consumer protection, aligning with the first phase of the government’s Pentagonal Strategy. With the guidance of Minister of Commerce Cham Nimul, we have devised further action plans to reinforce food safety and protect consumer rights,” added Oun.

In a separate report, CCF has confirmed that the recent death of a man in Pnov village, Snam Preah commune, Bakan district of Pursat province, was not caused by wine poisoning as initially suspected.

On September 7, a tragic incident occurred when Poan Rith, aged 40, passed away after consuming wine. Following the incident, a sample of the wine was collected for testing by CCF.

Oun told The Post on September 13 that the test results for the wine sample came back negative for poisonous or methanol substances. He suggested that the cause of death may have been related to other factors, possibly excessive wine consumption.