December 20, 2014
Counterfeit vodka alert issued by police in Burnham-On-Sea area

Christmas revellers in Burnham-On-Sea have this week been warned to be aware that counterfeit vodka with potential health hazards is being sold in the area.

Trading standards officers have found Isopropanol, commonly found in screen wash, in samples of the counterfeit Smirnoff Vodka on sale at several shops and bars in Weston. It is feared they could also appear in the Burnham area.

The chemical Isopropanolcan can cause blindness and even death in large doses. Early poisoning signs include abdominal pain, sickness or dizziness.

Trading Standards were first alerted to the problem by Avon and Somerset Police after a local retailer became suspicious of a man trying to sell what looked like branded vodka. Samples of the product were sent for analysis to assess the risk to health, when the Isopropanol was found.

Drinkers should look out for poorly printed or misaligned labels, a lack of lot marking (this would be found laser etched on the glass bottle or ink-jet printed on the label), and sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

Meanwhile, an operation to remove the suspect vodka has been launched to protect the public from any potential harm.

Officers have also warned retailers and landlords what to look out for and to check their stock.

Neighbourhood Inspector Sharon Bennett said: "I'd ask anyone who has bought branded vodka at a suspiciously cheap price to check the label and if in any doubt contact Trading Standards."

They added that if the item is too cheap, it is unlikely to be genuine as alcohol duty and VAT would account for approximately £10 of the total price of the product.

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