It would seem that some of us need to careful when raising a glass to welcome in the Christmas season and the New Year as bottles of counterfeit alcohol are being sold to consumers who think they are getting a bargain. Bottles of vodka, containing alcohols that are usually found in antifreeze or cleaning fluid, are being sold, usually “under the counter,” in small corner shops but have also surfaced in some nightclubs as well. Trading Standards Officers in Sheffield have been finding this a particular problem since April of this year as they have confiscated around 2,300 bottles. This does not appear to be a “one-off” crime, as the Sheffield men of steel have been very vigilant and state that this current haul is double the amount they found in 2012, and twice as much as the number confiscated in 2011.
Fake vodka causes consumers to turn a blind eye
Whilst many of us like to make home brew strictly for our own consumption, the makers of this illicit vodka have brewed a cocktail of drink that is extremely dangerous and causes temporary blindness and in some extreme cases, death. Trading Standard Officers also said that they had found bottles sold for public consumption that contained chloroform and industrial alcohol. Students at Sheffield University admit to being stupid enough to buy some of these fake bottles and have ended up having problems with their eyesight as well as extreme stomach pains.
What is worrying is that people are turning to counterfeit products as the squeeze on our disposable income continues, and they are beginning to be seen by customers as the “norm”. London is the region that is the most “fake infested” in terms of consumer products, followed by Northern Ireland. Back in October, one in five people surveyed said they bought counterfeit alcohol without giving a thought to the effect it could have on their health.
Three cheers for a healthy and safe Festive season
Raising a glass and saying “cheers” especially around the festive season has long been a tradition in the UK. In fact the word “cheer” was first recorded in England back in the middle of the 13th century. The root of the word comes from the Middle English word derived from the Latin word for “face”. So when youngsters state they are “off their face” when inebriated perhaps this is not too far wrong! By the mid 1400’s a popular greeting was, “may the chere be with you” and chere or cheery began to mean good humoured. In 1919 the word “cheers” was written down as a greeting before taking a drink and now it is an informal way of saying thank you or goodbye.If however you want to stay cheery and still see your glass as you raise it to your face, then steer clear of fake alcohol. Watch out for the 4 P’s – price, place, product and packaging. In other words if it is unusually cheap, is not from a reputable retailer or distributor, is a brand you haven’t seen before, smells like nail varnish and is a fake of a well-known product and the packaging contains spelling mistakes or the seal on the bottle has been tampered with, then leave well alone.
If you have been offered or had experience of counterfeit alcohol – get in touch with us at iRateiSlate – we’re listening!