UK

Fake vodka warning issued by council trading standard teams

  • 31 December 2011
  • From the section UK
Some of the seized counterfeit bottles
Image caption Bottles of vodka labelled Drop have been among the fakes seized in the UK

People seeking cheap alcohol as part of new year celebrations have been warned by council trading standards teams about the dangers of counterfeit vodka.

Fake vodka seized had high levels of methanol, which can cause blindness, as well as having industrial solvents.

Misaligned labels and liquid with an odour resembling nail varnish are among telltale signs of counterfeit vodka.

The Local Government Association in England and Wales warned that fake vodka could be deadly.

Cllr Paul Bettison, its regulation spokesman, compared the situation with that in India, where dozens of people have died after drinking illegal alcohol.

He said the "dreadful scenes" of those deaths highlighted the "fatal truth of what can happen if you drink fake alcohol".

Mr Bettison went on: "Everyone wants a bargain, especially at this time of year, but surely the potential health risks far outweigh any financial savings. Purchasing it also does nothing to help legitimate businesses stay afloat.

"Frankly, if the offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If anyone is suspicious about a supplier or feels that they may have bought a bottle of counterfeit alcohol, please do not drink it. Instead, contact your local council or Consumer Direct for advice as a matter of urgency."

Labels with poor quality print and spelling mistakes, as well as bottles on the shelf not being filled to the same level are among signs that the alcohol is likely to be counterfeit.

One shopkeeper was given a £16,000 fine after Surrey County Council seized bottles of fake Glen's Vodka which was found to contain 235 times more methanol than the legal limit allowed.

West Berkshire and Wokingham Trading Standards seized 700 one-litre bottles of Drop Vodka that contained chloroform.

And Horsham District Council issued a warning after finding fake vodka marketed as Drop Vodka, Red Admiral, Arctic Ice and Spar Imperial that was found to contain industrial solvent Propan-2-ol.

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