Liverpool store sold fake Glen's vodka unfit for consumption

The owner of a food store in the Sefton area of Liverpool in the UK has been fined after being discovered selling counterfeit vodka that could have put the health of purchasers at risk.

The prosecution by Sefton Council resulted in Wojtek Lazarz of Smakus Foods Ltd facing fines of £1,450 and £1,050, respectively, plus £1,000 towards costs.

The case dates back to 2019, when  Sefton Council's Environmental Health team began an investigation after counterfeit bottles of Glen's Vodka were found in nearby Southport.

Glen's is a registered trade mark of Loch Lomond Distillers Ltd, which instructed the Sefton Council's Environmental Health team on how to identify the counterfeit bottles.

Lazarz's unhelpful approach when questioned about the counterfeit alcohol, stored for sale at his business, led to the council deciding to taking legal action.

Fake vodka has been found to contain a range of noxious contaminants, including isopropanol, methanol and chloroform.

These types of chemicals can cause a range of symptoms and adverse effects, ranging from sickness and vomiting and abdominal pain to kidney or liver problems, coma, irreversible blindness and death.

One major problem facing healthcare services in dealing with counterfeit alcohol is that the symptoms of poisoning are often similar to alcohol intoxication.

"Selling fake alcohol that could have a serious effect on people's health is an extremely serious matter and the Foods Standards Agency has made it a national priority of their work," commented Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services.

"Events like this in Sefton are not common but I would ask anyone who notices anything suspicious to contact us so that we can investigate and take action," she added.

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