Page last updated at 18:29 GMT, Friday, 22 August 2008 19:29 UK

Alert over dangerous fake vodka

Fake vodka
The vodka has also been found in London and possibly Bristol

Bottles of fake vodka, containing potentially harmful levels of methanol, may be in circulation, officials said.

The warning follows the arrest of a van driver in Newcastle earlier this month, when 180 bottles were seized.

Food standards staff are liaising with Islington council in London, where a number were found on sale.

Although marked Spar Imperial Vodka, the fake drink is sold only in non-Spar outlets. All the bottles sold in Spar stores are authentic, it is stressed.

Eight suspect bottles have also been seized by environmental health teams in Bristol.

A city council spokesman said small grocers and off-licences would have their stock checked over the weekend.

Nail varnish

Trading standards officials in Gloucestershire and environmental health officers in West Lancashire have also warned shoppers to be on the lookout after fears the contaminated vodka may be on sale in these counties too.

The man arrested in Newcastle, who is aged 19, has been bailed pending further inquiries.

The Food Standards Agency says the methanol levels recorded could have serious health effects, including blindness, if consumed in large quantities.

But they say no cases of ill-health from the fake drink have been reported so far.

They say the counterfeit vodka has a hint of acetone smell, similar to nail varnish.

The fake drink is being offered for sale in 70cl bottles.

Warning over fake vodka dangers
24 Jul 08 |  Surrey
Bottles of 'lethal' vodka seized
30 Apr 08 |  Lancashire
Counterfeit vodka found in shops
14 Feb 08 |  Norfolk

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