FSA Press Release (2003/0390), 25 June 2003
The Food Standards Agency is updating its health warning about counterfeit vodka contaminated with methanol after another illegal product has been found on sale.
The Food Standards Agency is updating its health warning about counterfeit
vodka contaminated with methanol after another illegal product has been found
Customs and Excise officers seized four cases of S. Petersbourg Vodka from off-licences in the Holloway area of Islington, north London, last week. More than a dozen bottles of the same vodka were seized from off-licences in the Waltham Forest area of north London in an earlier raid.
Laboratory tests on these bottles showed that they contained unacceptably high levels of methanol. Vodka should not contain methanol at such levels. If consumed it could cause serious harm to health.
Some bottles found in Waltham Forest were labelled as St. Petersburg Vodka in a slight variation on the spelling of the name. They were also found to contain unacceptable levels of methanol. Anyone who may have a bottle of this vodka should not drink it and should contact their local authority.
This latest advice follows a series of warnings from the Agency about the hazards of drinking these fake products. A 42-year-old woman died in March in Edinburgh, Scotland, after drinking counterfeit vodka.
The effects of methanol poisoning include abdominal pain, drowsiness and dizziness, blurred vision blindness and breathing difficulties leading to coma. Symptoms can be delayed for several hours and anyone who thinks they may have drunk one of these products should seek immediate medical advice.
The S. Petersbourg Vodka bottles are 70cl clear glass bottles with a white label. The label also has a gold crown with crossed swords and two red lions at the top, above the name S. Petersbourg Vodka, which is in black and red lettering. There is a gold image of buildings at the bottom. The label is also marked 70cl, e, 37.5%Vol.
The St. Petersburg Vodka comes in one-litre bottles and is otherwise identical apart from the slight variation in the spelling of the name. They are also marked 1 LTR, rather than 70cl.
These counterfeits have taken the name of a genuine brand of vodka called St. Petersburg Vodka. The product, which was produced in Russia and bottled exclusively for the USA export market, has not been sold for four years. The genuine product is marked 40% strength.