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Inspectors seize fake vodka in poisons scare

PUBLISHED: 20:55 03 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:35 05 October 2010

HEALTH safety officers have seized suspect bottles of fake vodka from liquor stores in London’s East End which could contain a potentially lethal chemical. Town Hall public health inspectors visited 57 premises searching for the dodgy vodka following a warning that counterfeit spirits were being sold over the counter doused with a chemical used in antifreeze

HEALTH safety officers have seized suspect bottles of fake vodka from liquor stores in London’s East End which could contain a potentially lethal chemical.

Town Hall public health inspectors visited 57 premises searching for the dodgy vodka following a warning that counterfeit spirits were being sold over the counter doused with a chemical used in antifreeze.

The Food Standards Agency issued a warning about counterfeit vodka labelled as Spar brand Imperial Vodka which had been found in other parts of Britain.

That prompted Tower Hamlets council to carry out snap inspections when they found 31 bottles of fake liquor which they believe might contain high levels of flammable and poisonous methanol—found in antifreeze, glue and fuel blends.

Their food safety and trading standards office visited off-licences, corner stores and licensed grocers on Friday and Sunday when they found the hookie stuff at four premises out of the 57 on their list.

The shopkeepers voluntarily handed over the suspect vodka. Samples are now being tested for methanol.

“This counterfeit vodka could at best be dangerous and at worst lethal,” said a council statement yesterday (September 2).

“So we are urging people to be cautious. Businesses should also be confident they are not putting their customers at risk.”

The public is being urged to check any 70cl bottles labelled Spar brand Imperial Vodka.’

The warning does not affect genuine Spar brand vodka—the fakes are being sold in non-Spar retail outlets, the Food Standards agency points out.

The vodka looks like the genuine product—but the giveaway is the writing on the labels being blurred, particularly on the back of the label and the images.

There is also no lot’ code on the neck of the bottles which is found on genuine stock.

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