Media Statement: Food Contamination in Siem Reap Province

On 27 March 2015, World Vision’s child labour project (EXCEL) conducted an event to raise public awareness related to the issue of child labour with more than 700 people in Chikreng district, Siem Reap province. Refreshments, a baguette sandwich filled with meat and vegetable pickle, were provided to the event participants. The refreshment was prepared by a youth group in Chikreng district as an income generating activity, which is paid for by World Vision. Usually, the youth would use the income generated from this service (whom they provide not only to World Vision, but also other events held in their community) to help support the most vulnerable people and children in their community.

On the morning of later day, reports started to surface that people, who had attended the event and ate the food, were showing signs of food poisoning (diarrhoea, vomiting, and dizziness). People who were experiencing food poisoning have been transferred to many health centres in their community and provincial hospital.

World Vision takes this issue seriously by sending staff to help get the health centres 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.

Local Police are investigating to see the root cause of this food poisoning. The first suspicion that the police conclude is the cucumber in the pickle. 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 morning of March 29, no cases of fatalities have been reported and less than 120 patients remain in the hospital while others have travelled back home as their condition improved.

As an organisation who works to improve the well-being of children in Cambodia, World Vision does not want to see a situation like this 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.

For media inquiries, please contact:                                                                                          Channpheaktra Hong                                                                                                                Public Relations Officer, World Vision                                                                                      Tel: +85512672732  or Email: