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Health Ministry again expands list of methanol-tainted liquor, updates death count

August 1, 2019

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

Translated from Spanish, the Health Ministry’s update reads, in part, 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 Chonete”, “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.

“Guaro Chonete” is the newest addition to the list.

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: [email protected].

People or companies selling adulterated alcoholic beverages are subject to various administrative and criminal penalties. The Health Ministry said Wednesday it shut down two establishments in Upala, Alajuela this week “due to the commercialization of alcohol brands adulterated with methanol indicated in the health alerts.”

The Health Ministry says at least 55 people were treated for methanol poisoning in June and July. As of July 30, 23 people have died.

The last death was reported on July 24, according to the Health Ministry.

The U.S. Embassy has said 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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