Warning About Fake Vodka

Trading Standards is urging retailers to take care when buying little known brands of vodka at extremely cheap prices, after they discovered some examples of illegal alcohol.

Trading Standards officers have been telling Capital they're currently taking action against a retailer just over the Hampshire border in Dorset.

Some of the fake vodka they found actually had 10 times the allowed amount of methanol - which is often found in nail varnish remover.

Retailers have a responsibility to keep good records of where they purchase their stock so that, if a product is found to be unsafe, swift action can be taken to trace the source and remove the drink from sale. 

Businesses buying dangerous and untraceable stock from cold callers or without getting a receipt put customer health at risk - and may end up losing their licence to sell alcohol, as well as facing prosecution. 

Officers can, and do, suspend the supply of suspect stock pending the results of tests and can seize stock if they have sufficient grounds to believe it is not genuine.

Richard Herringshaw, principal trading standards officer in Dorset said, "Recent test results on vodka seized from a retailer in the east of the county showed it contained ten times the permitted level of methanol. While this level should not endanger health it illustrates the lack of quality control on products like this. 

"It is highly likely that the hangover will be worse should anyone drink this spirit to excess. We also have evidence that no duty will have been paid on these drinks. 

"People should remember that some of the duty paid on alcohol goes towards paying for the health service we all rely on."

Emma Wilson, Health Programme Advisor said: "In common with other fake goods such as tobacco, when it comes to drinking counterfeit alcohol you cannot be 100 per cent sure what you are putting into your body. 

"In other parts of the country people have assumed their drinks have been spiked, but their symptoms are down to the toxic chemicals in the drink itself. 

"Symptoms can include hallucinations, loss of sight, nose bleeds and vomiting and we would encourage anyone who thinks they have drunk fake booze to seek medical help. There is no point bagging a bargain if you pay with your health."