NORFOLK/SUFFOLK: Fake Vodka Warning

Shop owners are being told to be on the look out for illegal vodka...

In the run-up to Christmas, a national alert has been issued to warn shoppers of illicit vodka that is ‘potentially damaging to health’.

Bottles of the illegal spirit, ‘Drop Vodka 70cl’, have been found on sale at outlets throughout the UK in a number of towns and cities including Norwich, typically in small independent retailers such as corner shops and garages. The Food Standards Agency has warned that the liquor contains Propan-2-ol and other substances which can be potentially damaging to health.

Cllr Paul Claussen, Breckland Council Executive Member for Planning and Environmental Services said: “We are working with our businesses to protect the public and ensure that this potentially dangerous vodka is removed from sale. Our officers have written to Breckland businesses to notify them of this hazard and will be helping proprietors check stocks and identify any rogue items”.

Lack of information on labelling means that it has not been possible at this stage to identify the manufacturer, or to trace its distribution. 

 The main distinctive marks by which the spirit can be identified are –

 ·        The Duty stamp does not fluoresce under UV light.

·        The duty reference on the illicit bottles A000000000618 belongs to Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse Ltd. Drop Vodka is not a Glen Catrine product.

·        The barcode 0123456789 is not a valid bar code.

·        No spirit manufacturers lot number on bottle.

·        No manufacturers name and address on the label.

·        Front and rear labels are self-adhesive.

·        Punt mark on bottles show bottle made by ‘Ol glassware’.

·        The general print quality of the labels is poor.

For further information, contact Breckland’s Food Safety Team on 01362 656870.

Related articles:

Ipswich: Vodka With Chemicals Found

Thirteen bottles of cut-price vodka, found to contain chemicals used in cleaning fluids and de icers, have been seized from off licences in Ipswich - following raids involving Suffolk Trading Standards officers.

The 70cl bottles of 'Drop Vodka' were found to contain small traces of Propan-2-ol -  a substance commonly found in industrial solvents. Lab tests could not identify their exact contents.

The bottles, which claimed to contain a 'blend of selected ingredients to give its taste and (sic) delicate aroma', did not show a manufacturer's name and address and included a fake mark indicating its suitability for the UK market  - complete with the logo of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Although the product sampled is not deemed to be unsafe, it can safely be assumed that such spirits are not subject to rigorous quality controls and these are not ingredients usually found in vodka.

Suffolk Trading Standards say it is an offence to possess or supply this product. The bottles were removed from sale and the owner of the two shops involved was issued with a formal written warning.

Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council's Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, urged people across Suffolk to be on the lookout for similar products. He said:

"Our trading standards officers are always out in our communities checking products on sale and making sure Suffolk residents are safe and not being ripped off. Whilst this discovery is shocking, it is exactly the sort of thing they work to combat on a daily basis.

Our message to retailers is only buy your stock from reputable wholesalers who you know and trust. And to consumers, it’s important that we all think very carefully before we buy a product from a non-recognised brand name. If you know something is exceptionally cheap and the product looks questionable, it’s probably not the real deal.

If we all follow some simple guidelines, it can be really easy to avoid these kinds of products and the risks they pose."

The shops where the product was discovered were Little Hut on Eagle St and Little Hut on St Helens St, Ipswich.

The actual alcohol content found in the spirits (29.6%) was less than that advertised on the bottles (37.5%).

This vodka has been found elsewhere in the UK - as has a brand called 'Arctic Vodka'.

Information on the sale of this product can be given anonymously to Trading Standards on 08454 04 05 06.

James Garrett from Suffolk Trading Standard's Talks To Heart