Czech Republic bans liquor due methanol-related deaths

Czech Republic bans liquor due to methanol-related deaths

5:25 AM, 17th September 2012
Czech Republic bans liquor due to methanol-related deaths
Leos Heger, Health Minister of Czech Republic.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC: The Czech Republic has taken a drastic emergency measure and banned sale of spirits with more than 20 per cent alcohol content as it battles a wave of methanol poisonings that has already killed 19 people.

Health Minister, Leos Heger said Friday the ban was effective immediately and applies nationwide. It covers all possible sales locations, including restaurants, hotels, stores and the Internet, reported the Associated Press.

Kiosks and markets had earlier been banned from selling spirits with more than 30 per cent alcohol content. But Heger said the measure has not been effective enough because “An absolute majority” of people who have been poisoned bought the toxic alcohol in restaurants, bars and stores. It is estimated that up to 20 per cent of all the liquor in restaurants across the country is likely made on the black market.

The death toll from the poisonings reached 19 on Friday, prompting the decision, said Heger. Dozens of people have been hospitalized, some in critical condition after drinking vodka and rum laced with methanol. The problem has appeared largely centered in Northeastern Czech Republic. Labs all across the country have been testing round the clock samples of suspicion alcohol that has been seized during police raids.

Thousands of litres of illegal alcohol have been seized and almost 20 people arrested. Meanwhile, in Prague, Restaurant Manager Jonathan Weinstein said if the ban “Were to last a month or two, of course, it’s a big problem.”

“It harms producers,” said Petr Pavlik, Chairman of a Czech Union of Spirits Producers.

© WOC News 




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