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Health Ministry expands list of liquor brands suspected of causing methanol poisoning

July 30, 2019

Costa Rica’s Health Ministry on Tuesday expanded to eight the list of liquor brands that may contain dangerous amounts of methanol.

Translated from Spanish, the Health Ministry’s update reads as follows:

The Ministry of Health … informs the general population about the extension of the Health Alert issued regarding the sale of products packaged in bottles labeled “Guaro Guerazo”, “Guaro Sacheto”, “Guaro Gran Apache”, “Aguardiente Estrella Roja”, “Guaro Montano”, “Aguardiente Barón Rojo”, “Aguardiente Timbuka” and “Aguardiente Molotov”, which according laboratory results, are adulterated with methanol.

On July 5, the Ministry issued an alert due to the adulteration with methanol of a product identified on its label as “Guaro Montano”. In follow-ups to this alert, it was found that other products with labels that indicate “Aguardiente Barón Rojo”, “Aguardiente Molotov” and “Aguardiente Timbuka,” are also adulterated with methanol. Samples of other similar products were taken and adulteration was found in packaging labeled “Guaro Gran Apache” and “Aguardiente Estrella Roja”. To these alcoholic beverages we now add those labeled “Guaro Sacheto”.

It should be noted that “Guaro Guerazo”, “Guaro Sacheto”, “Guaro Gran Apache”, “Aguardiente Estrella Roja”, “Guaro Montano”, “Aguardiente Barón Rojo”, “Aguardiente Timbuka and “Aguardiente Molotov” are registered before the Ministry of Health. It is suspected that counterfeit products of these brands circulate in the national market.

Do not consume any of the liquor brands named in the alert, and report to authorities if you suspect an establishment of selling adulterated liquor. A criminal complaint can be filed via email at: denuncias.drpis@misalud.go.cr.

People or companies selling adulterated alcoholic beverages are subject to various administrative and criminal penalties.

The Health Ministry says at least 45 people have been treated for methanol poisoning in recent weeks. As of last Wednesday, 20 people had died. The U.S. Embassy said last week it is “not aware of any U.S. citizen illness or death due to consuming adulterated alcohol in Costa Rica.”

In an effort to reduce the risk of additional poisonings, more than 38,000 bottles of liquor have been seized by authorities, according to the Health Ministry.

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