Should You Be Worried About Tainted Alcohol When Traveling?

The headlines are scary enough to make travelers pack their own drinks when they head abroad. Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health has reported that 25 people have died there this year due to methanol poisoning as a result of consuming tainted spirits. Nineteen local men and six women, ranging in age from 32 to 72, have succumbed to lethal doses of methanol this year. An additional 59 were hospitalized after reportedly ingesting counterfeit alcohol.

The government has confiscated more than 55,000 containers of counterfeit spirits and closed down 10 stores in the San Jose and Alajuela areas since the initial deaths in the region were reported in June. In all cases, the deaths and illnesses were a result of methanol poisoning from illegitimate alcohol—bottles that had been refilled with counterfeit, poorly distilled spirits, usually containing methanol instead of just ethanol. In Costa Rica, criminals will sometimes scavenge empty bottles from hotel and resort trashcans and refill them with this fake liquor, according to Greg Dolan, CEO of the Methanol Institute, a trade association. Read More – Wine Spectator

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