Report: Counterfeit booze reports jump 27 percent in the U.K.

Reports of fake alcohol have risen sharply in May and June in the U.K., according to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food Fraud Database.

Of the 170 cases reported to the FSA, about 45 percent of those involved fake alcohol. Last year, of the 238 cases reported in the same time frame, only 23 percent involved fake alcohol. That’s about 75 cases this year, as compared to about 55 last year, according to The Grocer.

Most of the incidents reportedly involved vodka.

The increase throughout the past three years is staggering – seizures of fake alcohol have increased almost 400 percent since 2009, according to The Grocer.

It also costs the U.K. economy about £1 billion annually.

The article doesn’t elaborate on what the fake booze was comprised of; however, one common ingredient in counterfeit spirits is methanol, a solvent used in industrial settings. It also is found in antifreeze, varnish, fuel additives and paint remover, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Although methanol is a type of alcohol, it is not for human consumption and can lead to serious health problems. It often is used in counterfeit alcohol.

Effects of ingesting methanol can range from nausea and vomiting to confusion and vision trouble. If left untreated, it can lead to coma and death.

To see Neogen’s product offerings for methanol testing, click here.

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