Contaminated vodka could cause blindness

PUBLISHED: 17:35 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:14 25 August 2010

HUNDREDS of bottles of poisoned vodka that could cause blindness have been seized by police. Counterfeit bottles of Imperial Vodka bearing the

HUNDREDS of bottles of poisoned vodka that could cause blindness have been seized by police.

Counterfeit bottles of Imperial Vodka bearing the SPAR brand name have been found to have excessive levels of methanol in them which, if consumed in large quantities, can cause blindness.

The Food Standards Agency issued a warning after 180 of the bottles were found in a Newcastle flat on August 5 and 70 were reported to be distributed elsewhere, 28 of them in London.

Now Bexley council is urging residents to be vigilant.

A Bexley Council spokesman said: "Excessive levels of methanol have been found in the counterfeit bottles, which would pose a potential health risk if consumed."

Bogus bottles have the smell of acetone, similar to nail varnish and have the code QI:1445c near the base and a smudged inkjet code reading: 102234 04/08/02.

So far, no bottles of the poisoned vodka have been found in SPAR stores.

A spokesman for SPAR said: "SPAR can confirm it has taken the appropriate steps to inform authorities at both the FSA and Trading Standards, and the counterfeit vodka has not affected legitimate supply routes to stores."

Customers should only buy SPAR labelled products from their stores and to be suspicious if they see them sold elsewhere.

This is not the first case of harmful vodka being illegally sold this year.

In February, Glen's Vodka was taken off the market in Hertfordshire and in April, HK Wines of London Road, Thornton Heath was fined £500 for selling bottles of fake vodka.

Anyone with information about the sale of counterfeit SPAR Imperial Vodka should contact the Food Safety Team on 020 8308 7634 or email


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