Drinkers should look at printed labels to spot counterfeit alcohol

23rd December 2010 - Fine Cut

Drinkers this Christmas are being warned to keep an eye out for dodgy alcohol after police in Surrey discovered hauls of potentially lethal counterfeit alcohol.

As reported by Staines News, a four-month investigation by Trading Standards discovered that a quarter of shops and off-licences tested in Surrey were selling illegal alcohol.

The counterfeit alcohol bottles come with their own printed labels, but Trading Standards said that paying a little attention to detail can help identify the counterfeit ones. The labels can be wonky, display incomplete information or imitate existing brands, they advise.

The labels are not like the product labels belonging to legitimate alcohol brands, which show information about the number of units in the drink, advice on consumption when pregnant, messages about responsible drinking as well as a logo and link for Drinkaware, and advice on the NHS' recommended levels of alcohol consumption. It's this difference in content that can help people spot counterfeit alcohol, they say.

"Fake brands of alcohol can contain potentially lethal amounts of methanol because they have not been through the same quality controls as the real thing," said Kay Hammond, cabinet member for Community Safety at Surrey County Council. "People may be tempted by the cheap price of fake alcohol at Christmas, especially during these difficult financial times, but I would urge them not to gamble with their health."

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