Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Food (or Beverage) Fraud That Kills

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

Deaths in Costa Rica are possibly due to alcohol fraud.

Food fraud, methanol, alcohol, Costa Rica
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Methanol is highly toxic for humans, and increased amounts can show up in fraudulent or illegal alcoholic beverages. Dozens of methanol poisoning cases still happen every year around the world, some of them being deadly, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The FBI is assisting the Costa Rican Police in the investigation of 20 recent deaths that are possibly methanol-related. Costa Rican authorities have searched a production facility, seized liquor and issued a nationwide alert.


Knowles, H. (July 24, 2019). “Tainted alcohol has led to 20 deaths in Costa Rica, authorities say”. The Washington Post.

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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

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