PHNOM PENH, Oct. 19 (FN) -- About 137 Cambodian schoolchildren in southern Takeo province have become sick after eating tainted food distributed by a local volunteer group, a police officer confirmed on Wednesday.

Sok Sochea, deputy police chief of Tram Kak district, where the incident occurred, said the children fell ill on Tuesday afternoon, about four hours after they ate fried rice with egg, corn and sausage and drank milk and fresh water.

"They all have the same symptoms: vomiting and diarrhea," he told Xinhua, adding that they had been rushed to hospitals soon after the incident.

He said sample of the tainted fried rice was sent to the provincial food safety bureau for an examination.

According to the police officer, the contaminated food was distributed to those schoolchildren at Wat Tatai primary school by a group of students from a school in Phnom Penh.

Sochea said that he and the group of students visited and made cash donation to the ill-fated children in hospitals on Wednesday afternoon and saw that they were all in stable condition.

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

Last month, the Ministry of Health urged all citizens to be careful with food hygiene to avoid illness after some 37 Buddhist monks fell ill in southeastern Kampong Cham province after eating tainted food.