Fake vodka containing a chemical found in cleaning liquids and aerosol de-icers that can cause blindness has been discovered on sale in Cardiff.
During a routine inspection of vodka brands last week, Cardiff Trading Standards officers found one particular brand contained the chemical Isopropanol.
Isopropanol is a compound not usually found in vodka. However, it is often present in cleaning liquids and it can also be found in aerosol de-icers.
Depending on the amounts ingested, side effects from consuming it can range from nausea and dizziness to possible blindness.
The tests also found that the product does not contain enough alcohol for it to be called vodka. Legally, vodka should contain no less than 37.5% alcohol but this product contained only 25% alcohol.
Councillor Ashley Govier, cabinet member for environment, said: “Our Trading Standards officers immediately seized the product and we are currently investigating the matter.
“I would like to clarify that there is a legitimate brand of vodka called Selekt Imperial available in recognised retailers with which there are no quality issues so we are not suggesting that all vodka carrying this label is illegal or dangerous.
“However, the product we seized is clearly illegal and not suitable for human consumption so we are urging consumers to be aware that counterfeited vodka has been found on sale in the area.
“Our officers discovered that the sample seized also had some labelling issues, particularly the lack of producer’s detail, which are needed to ensure that the vodka is fully traceable.”
Liz Maguire from G&J Distillers UK, manufacturers of the legitimate Selekt Imperial Vodka, said: “We take counterfeiting very seriously and the protection of our consumers is of paramount importance to us.
“As such G&J Distillers UK adheres to the highest production standards, and works actively with all UK enforcement agencies, including the police, HMRC and trading standards. Recognising the importance of the valuable role they have in protecting consumers.
“To identify counterfeit bottles of Selekt vodka, consumers should look for poor labelling – legitimate Selekt vodka has a high gloss finish on the label. Bottles also clearly carry the AGC stamp on the bottom of the bottle.
“If anyone has any concerns about a bottle of Selekt Imperial vodka that they have bought, they should contact G&J Distillers customer services on 01925 286439.”
Coun Govier added: “The people behind the production and distribution of this illegal product are undoubtedly criminals. However, anyone selling it is equally culpable and if they are caught doing so could face a fine, prosecution and/or having their license revoked by us.”
If consumers discover any vodka – or other food substance – which they believe to be counterfeit they are advised not to ingest any of it and instead contact their local authority or call the Food Standards Agency food fraud hotline on 020 7276 8527.