Last updated on 25 September 2012
Updated warning on Czech spirits ban
The Food Standards Agency is reminding visitors to the Czech Republic of the continued ban on the sale of domestic (Czech) spirits containing more than 20% alcohol. This follows reports that the number of methanol poisoning-related deaths in the Czech Republic has risen to 24.
The FSA has issued an updated list of potential Czech brands that may have been contaminated by methanol. Pictures of the bottle labels can also be found below.
List of Czech brands
These are the affected brands:
- AB Style Tuzemák
- Albánská Borovička
- Lašský Tuzemák
- Likerka Drak Original Tuzemák
- Likerka Drak Original Vodka Jemná
- Švestková vodka
- Vodka Lunar
- Wodka Frederic
Hanácká Vodka has been removed from the list because it is not counterfeit.
Until the Czech authorities confirm that the issue has been resolved, the FSA is advising travellers not to bring back bottles of the local ‘hard liquor’ as they could contain potentially lethal levels of methanol. The Czech authorities have also imposed a ban on the marketing, distribution and export of the spirits to countries outside of the Czech Republic, including online. There have been no reports of the products being imported into or on sale in the UK.
Science behind the story
Methanol is normally found in vodka and other spirits at very low levels, but high levels should not be present because if drunk it could cause serious harm to health. An excessive intake of methanol can cause methanol poisoning and the effects include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, drowsiness and dizziness, blurred vision leading to blindness, and breathing difficulties. Symptoms of methanol poisoning can take several hours to develop, so anyone who may have drunk one of the products should seek immediate medical advice.