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U.S. Embassy issues safety alert over adulterated alcohol

July 23, 2019

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica has issued the following safety alert in response to at least 19 recent deaths suspected to have been caused by adulterated alcohol:

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica is aware of the reports regarding recent deaths in Costa Rica associated with the consumption of tainted alcohol.  At this time, we are not aware of any U.S. citizen illness or death due to consuming adulterated alcohol in Costa Rica.  The deaths have reportedly occurred throughout the country including seven cases in San Jose, four cases in Cartago, one case in Heredia, three cases in the Limón area and two cases in Guanacaste.  Out of an abundance of caution, the Government of Costa Rica has issued a national alert and confiscated 30,000 bottles of alcohol from six brands:  Guaro Montano, Guaro Gran Apache, Star Welsh, Aguardiente Barón Rojo, Aguardiente Timbuka, and Aguardiente Molotov.  Please see below a link to the Costa Rican Ministry of Health Warning.

Costa Rican Ministry of Health Warning

Actions to Take:  The Embassy strongly recommends all persons avoid consuming alcohol from these brands.  The Government of Costa Rica is investigating the situation and the Embassy remains in contact Costa Rica authorities regarding the ongoing investigation.

Last Friday, Costa Rica’s Health Ministry said it attributes at least 19 deaths in June and July to methanol poisoning, though the information is “preliminary as investigations continue.”

The Health Ministry recommends the following:

  • Do not consume or purchase the aforementioned liquor brands until the health alert is lifted.
  • Report to the Ministry of Health (denuncias.drpis@misalud.go.cr) if you have symptoms of methanol poisoning after consuming alcohol.

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