Counterfeit alcohol linked to 20 deaths In Costa Rica

Yet another fatal counterfeit alcohol incident has hit the headlines, this time affecting the tourism hot spot Costa Rica.

An alert (in Spanish) issued by the Latin American country’s health ministry, has confirmed that several liquor types – Guaro Montano, Aguardiente Timbuka, Aguardiente Molotov, Aguardiente Barón Rojo, Guaro Gran Apache, Aguardiente Estrella Roja and Sachetto brandy – have been found to be tainted with methanol.

At last count 20 people are suspected to have died after consuming the illicit alcohol products since June, including 15 men and five women ranging in ages from 32 to 72. Around 45 people have been made ill by the liquor, and more than 38 thousand bottles have been seized.

The brands in question are locally produced, and it is unclear at the moment whether the fatalities are linked to bottles produced by counterfeiters, deliberate adulteration with methanol, or poor production practices resulting in methanol contamination.

The health ministry says it has shuttered some production facilities, and will take further action in cases where the alcoholic beverage “does not have a sanitary registration number, or that this corresponds to another product, or that does not have the lot number that allows its traceability.”

The incident comes shortly after an investigation started into tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic, with the finger being pointed at alcoholic drinks.

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