Deaths prompt Czech booze warning

21 September 2012 09:31

Visitors to the Czech Republic have been warned to avoid locally-made "hard liquor" after a spate of methanol poisonings

Visitors to the Czech Republic have been warned to avoid locally-made "hard liquor" after a spate of methanol poisonings

Travellers have been warned after a number of people died from methanol poisoning after drinking bootleg spirits in the Czech Republic. The poisonings, which have resulted in 19 deaths and 36 people being admitted to hospital, were linked to locally-produced hard spirits tainted with industrial methanol being sold in markets, restaurants and pubs, the Foods Standards Agency (FSA) said.

The FSA said random tests on vodka, rum and other spirits marketed as "hard liquor" had shown high levels of methanol, prompting the Czech Ministry of Health to ban the sale of alcohol over 20% proof and highlighting the importance to travellers of having medical travel insurance. The FSA is advising people to steer clear of Hanacka Vodka, Vodka Drak, Borovicka, Merunka, Svestkova vodka, Tuzmak and Vodka Lunar.

Colin Houston, the FSA's head of incidents, said it was advising people to be extra cautious when buying and drinking alcohol in the Czech Republic. He added: "In particular, we're also warning people who may be bringing the locally-produced alcohol back as souvenirs to be vigilant, as these so-called hard liquors can contain potentially lethal levels of methanol."

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