Adulterated alcohol continues to pose serious risks to health and even life of consumers. In this latest case from the Dominican Republic, more than two dozen people have died from methanol poisoning due to a low-cost illegally made drink, and from fake brand-named products. Businesses associated with the scams were raided and closed, and arrests were made. Officials keep warning against the consumption of illegally manufactured alcoholic beverages.
Europol, the European police authority, estimates that up to 15% of pesticides are unapproved or counterfeit, resulting an annual impact of more than $6.5 billion on the legitimate pesticide industry. It is often unknown what ingredients are in these counterfeit products. Such substances, often sold online, can pose serious health and environmental risks. During the first half of 2020, Europol has seized a record amount of unapproved pesticides. Profit margins for criminals are very high due to relatively low production costs for pesticides. Criminals avoid the tedious, expensive and lengthy approval processes which are usually contributing significantly to the pesticides’ costs.
Counterfeit alcoholic beverages keep claiming lives, like in this latest case in the state of Punjab in India. To curb the consumption of alcohol, the Indian government has imposed high taxes on alcoholic beverages, with the effect of increased illegal alcohol production. Often, the alcohol is from a variety of sources like nuts and sugar cane and of poor quality, posing a health hazard. Officials raided numerous operations and arrested multiple suspects, including police officers and customs officials.
Sulfites and sulfur dioxide can make meats look fresher than they truly are, and therefore are banned by the FDA The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code also prohibits the addition of sulfites to raw meat. Not only is there a risk of meat past its prime getting into the food supply, sulfites may also pose a danger to allergy and asthma sufferers. More than 23 tons of ground beef were freshened up illegally with sulfites and sold in New Zealand to consumers. The manufacturer was recently sentenced to a fine in this two-year old case.
Fake brandy based on corn distillate was purchased by a Spanish company based in Georgia and was exported to other EU countries with falsified documentation. Fortunately, this alcohol fraud did not pose a health hazard like many other alcohol fraud cases. However, the economic gain for the fraudulent brandy was going to be huge, since a volume of 4 million liters of “brandy” was exported. EU regulations state that brandy is supposed to be based on wine distillate only, which costs up to four times more than distillate made from corn.
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