Warning of unlabelled alcohol

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Ministry of Consumer Protection warns of alcohol of unclear origin

A total of 16 people have died in the Czech Republic since Thursday because they had drunk adulterated alcohol containing methanol. Numerous other people are still in mortal danger and need intensive medical treatment due to severe poisoning symptoms. In the course of this, the Saxon Ministry of Consumer Protection warns against the consumption of alcoholic beverages, the origin of which is unclear. If suspicious products are offered, citizens should immediately inform the authorities at the request of the ministry.

There is also a danger in Germany
In addition to the deaths in the Czech Republic, two patients in Poland and one patient in Slovakia succumbed to severe poisoning. Meanwhile, the investigations in the Czech Republic are “in full swing to find the source of the methanol-containing alcohol”. The authorities assume that criminal gangs are behind it. Therefore, the extent of further sales cannot currently be estimated.

According to the Saxon Ministry of Consumer Protection, it cannot be ruled out at the present time that "the sale of contaminated bottles will also take place in Saxony". Due to the incidents in the neighboring countries and the lack of information about the origin of the toxic products and their distribution channels, the Ministry warns in particular against drinking unlabelled alcohol, where it is not clearly demonstrable how and where it was produced.

If you suspect food monitoring authority, turn it on
If there are suspicions or cases in which such products are advertised or offered, citizens should immediately contact the regional food inspection authority (LÜVA) or inform the police. Above all, information is of great importance that enables identification of “alcoholic products containing methanol - for example labels, brand names, etc. or other indications that enable the bottles to be traced”.

Even highly toxic in small doses
Even in very low doses, methanol is highly toxic and can lead to blindness, life damage and, in slightly higher doses, rapid death after consumption. Typical symptoms of intoxication after taking methanol is an intoxicating effect that occurs immediately after drinking. Immediately afterwards headache, weakness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and rapid breathing occur. In the last phase, optic nerve damage usually occurs, which can lead to complete blindness of the patient. Deaths are mostly caused by breathing paralysis.

The Ministry was informed about the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), the WHO rapid alert system, as well as the European Commission's rapid alert system, the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and the police authorities of the Czech Republic. In the meantime, the sale of high-proof alcohol (from 20 percent) has been banned for prevention in the Czech Republic in order to avoid further deaths. (sb)

Picture: Günther Gumhold / pixelio.de

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