World Vision, Cambodian Police Investigate Food Poisoning in Siem Reap

Global non-governmental organization World Vision and the local police of Siem Reap are conducting separate investigations on the food poisoning incident that downed more than 500 people, including children, in Chikreng distric, Siem Reap province.

In a statement, World Vision said a thorough internal investigation will take place in conjunction with the local police investigation.

“The findings will help World Vision put in place specific measures to ensure that food that is provided at World Vision events are safe for consumption,” the statement furnished to BusinessNewsAsia.com said.

The food poisoning incident happened at a World Vision-sponsored event on 27 March. World Vision’s child labor project conducted an event to raise public awareness related to the issue of child labor to more than 700 people in Chikreng district.

The group, however, clarified that the refreshment, composed of baguette sandwich filled with meat and vegetable pickle, that were distributed during the event were prepared by a youth group in Chikreng district, which is paid for by World Vision.

“World Vision takes this issue seriously by sending staff to help get the health centers prepared for treating the people and get ambulances ready to send patients to provincial hospital if any cases are serious. World Vision also installed tents so that there is enough space for community people receiving treatment,” the group said.

Local Police are investigating to see the root cause of this food poisoning and the first suspicion was that the cucumber in the pickle caused the illness of the event participants.

The police suspect that the cucumbers may have been covered in some form of chemical herbicide and were not yet due to be picked or ready for the market.

As of the evening of March 28, no any cases of fatalities have been reported and less than 120 patients remain in the hospital while others have travelled back home as condition gets better, World Vision said.

“As an organization who works to improve the well-being of children in Cambodia, World Vision does not want to see this case happen again. A thorough internal investigation will take place in conjunction with the local police investigation and the findings will help World Vision put in place specific measures to ensure that food that is provided at World Vision events are safe for consumption,” World Vision said in a statement.