Noodle soup sickens hundreds at Cambodia engagement party

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Nearly 300 Cambodians were taken ill after eating homemade noodle soup at an engagement ceremony, police said Tuesday.

The victims suffered diarrhoea and vomiting after the party in a remote village in central Kampong Thom province on Sunday, local police chief Soeung Phea told AFP.

Those affected were mainly children but also included a pregnant woman. She became so weak that doctors decided to induce labour to save her twins - who were born safely.

By Tuesday afternoon most of the victims were still being treated in hospital.

"They became ill after eating noodles during the engagement ceremony," Soeung Phea said.

"People also brought the noodles home for their kids and relatives, that's why there are so many victims," he said, adding the chefs may have used some chemical substance in the noodles to keep them from going off.

Samples from the noodles have been taken for testing, he added.

Checks on food are rare in impoverished Cambodia, where safety regulations are lax.