No fewer than 54 persons have died in Peru over the past month following the consumption of bottled drinks containing methanol, a toxic form of alcohol.
This was disclosed by South American country’s health ministry on Monday.
According to the ministry, 117 cases of methanol poisoning have been recorded since mid-September. And out of those, 54 people died.
“It is the highest figure (of methanol poisoning) in recent years,” the head of the ministry’s National Center for Epidemiology, Eduardo Ortega, told AFP.
The ministry had on Sunday advised people not to consume vodka/passion fruit- and pina colada-flavored drinks sold in two-liter plastic bottles under the name Punto D Oro. The waring came after tests revealed that they contain methanol, an ingredient in windshield washer fluid and antifreeze.
It said the drink was capable of doing “serious damage to the health of people who ingest them.”
This came after dozens of intoxication cases were reported at hospitals in and around the capital Lima.
According to the website of the Methanol Institute, a global trade association, “unscrupulous enterprises or individual” sometimes deliberately add methanol to alcoholic drinks as a cheaper alternative to safe and consumable ethanol.
It also pointed at improper brewing of homemade alcohol to be another source of poisonous drinks.