Health warning issued over fake booze

New Year’s Eve revellers are being warned of deadly fake alcohol before the big night tonight.

The Local Government Association (LGA) warning follows council seizures of counterfeit vodka from shops and storage facilities, including 900 bottles of fake vodka seized from a storage facility in Greenwich in October.

Some counterfeit bottles of vodka are said to contain industrial strength levels of alcohol which can lead to vomiting, permanent blindness, kidney or liver problems, and in extreme cases, death.

With partygoers stocking up on alcohol at home and attending big celebrations in towns and city centres, councils are issuing safety advice to help people avoid harm from illegal alcohol.

The LGA, which represents councils across England and Wales, is urging shoppers to look out for tell-tale signs that bottles are fake.

These include unfamiliar brand names, crooked labels, spelling mistakes, very low prices which are “too good to be true”, different fill levels in bottles of the same brand and sediment in the liquid which should not be present.

Greenwich Councillor Jackie Smith, cabinet member for children’s services and community safety said: “Illegally produced alcohol poses a risk to people’s health because it often contains dangerous chemicals.

“The sale of illegal alcohol also affects the wider community, as it can be linked to organised crime, child exploitation, money laundering and even terrorism.

Consumers should ensure they buy from responsible retailers and report any suspicions of illegal alcohol sales.”

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