Czech authorities ban liquor after 19 poisoned

The Czech health minister has placed a total ban on the sale of liquor with over 20 percent alcohol, following 19 deaths attributed to methanol poisoning from bootleg spirits.

Friday's measure tightens up a ban on spirits with over 30 percent alcohol being sold by street vendors and market stalls, which was introduced on Wednesday.

"We have to toughen up this measure," Leos Heger said on public television Friday,

Most of the deaths, in the country's worst wave of alcohol in three decades, were due to drinks bought in shops and restaurants, he said.

The first case of methanol poisoning in the capital Prague had also been discovered, he added.

In comments made later on the daily Dnes newspaper's website, Heger said the ban, which will cover all outlets including hotels and plane flights, could last for "some weeks".

Vendors ignoring the will be subject to hefty fines.

The head of the spirits producers and importers union, Petr Pavlik, criticised the move, saying it would encourage the black market.

The 19th victim was identified as a 66-year-old woman from Havirov in the northeastern region, which has been worst hit by the poisonings.

Twenty other people remained in hospital Friday, some of them blinded, some placed in artificial comas and others in critical condition.

Czech police have so far arrested 11 people in connection with the matter.

The Czech Republic has the world's second highest adult after Moldova, according to latest data.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Toxic liquor kills 143 in eastern India

Dec 15, 2011

A batch of home-brewed liquor thought to have been laced with the highly toxic chemical methanol has killed 143 people in eastern India, an official told AFP on Thursday.

Toxic alcohol kills 17 in southern India

Jan 02, 2012

At least 17 people have died from drinking toxic home-brewed alcohol in southern India, an official said on Monday, just weeks after a similar incident claimed 170 lives.

Czech teens, Europe's heaviest underage drinkers

Jul 11, 2012

Shaken awake by police on a park bench, a 12-year-old boy from Prague was so drunk he could neither walk nor talk -- grim evidence of an unparalleled alcohol scourge affecting underage Czechs.

Russia targets beer in fight against alcoholism

Sep 14, 2011

With a stroke of the presidential pen, beer was recently reclassified as an alcoholic drink in Russia, no longer a foodstuff, and its sales are to be restricted to cut alcohol abuse.

UK: Minimum alcohol price not set high enough

Feb 24, 2012

Following Prime Minister David Cameron's vow last week to tackle binge drinking, new research from Newcastle University has highlighted the need for a strong approach to alcohol pricing.

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

4 hours ago

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Mozambique decriminalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

5 hours ago

Mozambique has passed a law permitting women to terminate unwanted pregnancies under specified conditions without risking punishment, a move hailed by activists in a country where clandestine abortions account for a large ...

Infertility, surrogacy in India

5 hours ago

Infertility is a growing problem worldwide. A World Health Organization report estimates that 60-to-80 million couples worldwide currently suffer from infertility.

Tooth loss linked to slowing mind and body

18 hours ago

The memory and walking speeds of adults who have lost all of their teeth decline more rapidly than in those who still have some of their own teeth, finds new UCL research.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Eric_B
not rated yet Sep 16, 2012
jeez, it isn't that hard to make a still...

can't these folks find some stale bread or some other cheap non-toxic carbs to ferment?
RichMurray
not rated yet Sep 17, 2012
Methanol sources:

aspartame, E951 -

smoke from wood, peat, cigarettes -

fruits juices vegetables, especially tomatoes, sealed wet in cans -

many dark wines and liquors -

fermented, smoked, spoiled foods -

fresh tomatoes, black currants -

jellies, jams, and marmalades -

some fresh coffees -

chewing gum (often have aspartame) -

bacteria in the colon -

genetic flaws in metabolism -

vehicle fumes -

processed wood products of all kinds -

factories making leather, paper, particle board and plywood, or using solvents -

mobile homes -

As long as ethanol is in the blood, the ADH1 enzyme is preempted from turning methanol into formaldehyde right inside cells in 19 specific tissues -

This explains why people who never drink suffer more from many chronic diseases than those who drink about one alcohol drink daily -

WhileScienceSleeps -

TheTruthAboutStuff -

Prof. Woodrow C. Monte, Food Science & Nutrition

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.