New Year’s Eve revellers warned about fake vodka in UK

Authorities across the UK are warning the public to beware of cheap counterfeit vodka that could risk their eyesight and health ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebrations tomorrow.

The latest warning from the Local Government Association (LGA) comes after hundreds of bottles of cheap, hazardous vodka – laced with industrial alcohol that can cause irreversible damage to the eyes and other organs – at retailers around the country.

The LGA has issued a warning about counterfeit spirits in the build-up to New Year’s Eve for the last few years, but recent seizures – which have included both direct fakes of well-known brands like Smirnoff as well as unlicensed, bootleg brands – have added weight to this year’s message.

Towards the end of November, for example, bottles of counterfeit Smirnoff vodka were found in a shop and a pub in the Levenmouth area of Fife in Scotland, during an investigation by the local council’s food safety and trading standards teams.

The seized bottles are thought to contain isopropanol, a constituent in anti-freeze which can lead to blindness if consumed. Another fake Smirnoff seizure was made in Greenwich, London, a few days before Christmas, and there have been other incidents in Cheshire and West Yorkshire involving fake brands.

Clues that a bottle may be illicit include an unfamiliar brand names, crooked labels, spelling mistakes, unusually low prices, different fill levels in bottles of the same brand, sediment in the liquid, and a nail varnish-like smell, says the LGA.

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