The kind of illegal poisonous alcohol that has already killed 21 people in the Czech Republic (38 more still hospitalised) and led to the Czech government prohibiting the sale of strong spirits throughout the country, has now been found also in Slovakia as four people in the Presov region have been poisoned.
Fortunately, the alcohol consumed by the four people had a lower content of the killer methanol (methyl alcohol) than that found in the Czech Republic and so they are expected to recover with no permanent disability. The four victims were among those at a private birthday party where the ‘slivovica’ alcohol had been bought from the Czech Republic over the internet.
The Public health authority and the health minister Zuzana Zvolenska are saying there is no need for panic and no extreme measures have been imposed to restrict the sale of alcohol, with people being merely advised to take care about drinking alcohol where the origin might be in question, which could potentially mean also in bars, as was the case in the Czech Republic.
The Czech police are obviously doing what they can to get to the bottom of the contaminated alcohol, with one possibility being that it comes from anti-freeze mixtures from Poland used in windscreen washing fluid. In 2010 the EU allowed the use of methanol in place of ethanol for economic reasons, but tens of people have died of poisoning in Poland since (22 last year alone), as the liquid is used for bootleg alcohol.
It seems the Polish authorities have a problem controlling the production of foods. Just in the last year I can remember a scandal with: Ice cream from Lidl being produced in Poland containing salmonella, there was road salt in meat last winter and now this again. Maybe it’s time the Polish goverment starts doing something about these controls.
The knee jerk reaction of the Czechs and now the Poles to this problem does appear to be badly thought out. Imported spirits, or at least the internationally renown brands, are not the source of the problem nor are the majority of local brands. The poison is being presented either with crude, forged labels and govt.seals or in bulk, plastic 5lt containers.
The problem that needs addressing is the irresponsible attitude of businesses that sell the stuff to the public. Anyone who has been in the trade for any period of time should be able to spot dodgy products either by the packaging or the unrealistic price it is offered at. No doubt the potential cash returns on serving this lethal brew has made people blind.
The local case here in Presov has, in my opinion, opened a can of worms and the usual crass reporting has left many questions unanswered. The bar that sold this crap and hospitalised an entire family, bought the booze on the internet so the police should be able to track the payments to the producer. I presume the stuff was delivered either by a logistics courier ( they may like to revise their policy on what they will/will not carry) or it arrived in the back of some “suspect” vehicle ( are registration numbers not recorded on delivery notes?) The owner, who for some unknown reason after poisoning so many people, was free to chat about it on TV , should have been suspicious from the start and should have checked is new purchase out before selling it to the public. But wait, don’t tell me, he has done nothing wrong in the eyes of Slovak law even when common sense dictates that he is as guilty as the people who made the stuff. The bottom line is, bar owners are obtaining this crap at knock down prices, no questions asked and selling it on to turn a profit – lock em up, close their bars, ban them from ever doing business again.
Let’s taste our new home-made moraviana apricot brandy. You will never see better one.
czech police might be ‘doing what they can’ however the all out ban of spirits is ridiculous. maybe those in authority might want to figure out what people were drinking that led to this rather than just ban an entire industry. if they cannot tell the difference between black market ghetto booze and legally imported rum or scotch for example, then i fear they’re ‘not doing what they can’ to get to the bottom of this. furthermore, if the slovak govt wanted to rid black market products they should not sell strip stamps on the black market for starters.
Yes Marek, I was in Prague from Saturday till today and it was strange to see everyone being refused spirits, no matter what the source, and trips to the famous Jelinek plant were also alcohol free because visitors were not allowed to sample the goods. Ironically, the Slovak authorities have decided there is no need to restrict imports of alcohol from the Czech Republic, so essentially the Slovaks can drink what the Czechs are prohibiting.
The prohibition for Czech alcohol will start today at 5pm. So we are save now. Slovaks and foreigners alike – don’t worry!