A fifth of Czechs drank spirits during a two-week ban on the sale of hard alcohol in September, according to a survey conducted by the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and a polling agency. Less than a third of regular drinkers of spirits refrained from consuming them during the ban, which was imposed following a wave of deaths caused by counterfeit liquors containing poisonous methanol. To date 38 people have died from drinking such bootleg spirits.
The country’s chief inspection office says it has intensified checks of food products at open air, farmers’ and Christmas markets ahead of the Christmas season. The most frequent transgressions are uncertified goods of unclear origin and products past their expiry date. Special attention is also being paid to adherence to the ban on spirits at open air markets in Prague. The inspection office says it has conducted over 1,500 inspections of food products at open air and farmers’ markets since the start of the year issuing over 200 fines to the tune of 1 million crowns.
The district court in Zlín on Monday extended an earlier decision remanding three main suspects in the ‘Methanol Affair’ in custody. Two of the men - Rudolf Fian and accomplice Tomáš Křepela – are suspected of having concocted the deadly mix of enthanol and methyl alcohol that led to an outbreak of poisioning across the Czech Republic in mid-September. The third man, Jiří Vacula, was allegedly involved in passing the tainted product on to other distributors. The Zlín state prosecutor explained that if the suspects were released there was danger they could try and evade justice. The trio face between 12 to 20 years behind bars if found guilty. Thirty-eight people died of poisoning after the outbreak; the authorities have issued warnings ahead of the holiday season asking consumers not to drink any hard liquor of unknown origin ie. not containing new excise stamps. It is thought that some 5,000 litres of poisoned alcohol may still be in circulation on store shelves or in households.
The Czech health ministry has warned of the danger of more methanol poisonings over the Christmas holidays. According to police estimates there could still be up to 5,000 litres of uncertified, potentially dangerous alcohol in small stores and households. In the course of the past three months 38 people have died of methanol poisonings from bootleg liquor and three are currently in hospital in serious condition. Spirits have been banned from Christmas markets around the country.
A patient in his early 60s was admitted to hospital in Benešov, Central Bohemia, in serious condition on Sunday evening for methyl alcohol poisoning. Police are investigating and the bottle of spirits that were consumed is being tested in a laboratory. A police spokesman revealed the bottle was from the patient’s long-term supplies. The Czech Republic was hit by an outbreak of methanol poisoning in mid-September that over the weeks and months since has claimed 37 lives. The laced alcohol was introduced onto the market illegally in September by bootleggers. Officials have repeatedly appealed to Czechs not to drink hard alcohol of unknown origin – a warning being repeated ahead of the holiday season.
Visitors of the many outdoor Christmas markets around the Czech Republic will not be able to enjoy the traditional rum-based hot drinks like punč and grog this holiday season. The authorities have announced that they will strictly enforce a law prohibiting non-licensed vendors from selling drinks with alcohol content higher than 15 percent. In the past, the police turned a blind eye to such practices at the festive Christmas markets, but following this year’s methanol-crisis which claimed 37 lives, they have decided to take a harder line. The sale of hot drinks will be restricted to mulled wine or tea.
The number of fatalities in the Czech Republic from poisoned alcohol – related to an outbreak which began in mid-September – has reached 37. The spate of poisonings in the country, largely in Silesia and Moravia, began after bootleg liquor containing lethal levels of methanol was released onto the market. Doctors confirmed that the latest patient to die was a man in his 50s who had been hospitalised in Brno. Officials have repeatedly appealed to Czechs not to drink hard alcohol of unknown origin (meaning bottles produced this year lacking newly-issued excise stamps).
Poisoned alcohol has claimed a 36th victim in the Czech Republic, a 64-year-old man who was found dead in his home in the region of Moravia-Silesia. Twenty-two people in the region have died since bootleg alcohol containing lethal amounts of methyl was released onto the Czech market in mid-September. At the weekend, a couple from Havířov who consumed laced alcohol fell ill and were hospitalised: one of them, a 48-year-old woman, was in critical condition, but doctors managed to stabilise the patient. The authorities have repeatedly warned individuals not to consume hard liquor of unknown origin ie. bottles lacking new excise stamps.
A man has died in the Frýdek-Místek region after drinking liquor with excessive amounts of methanol, the postmortem confirmed on Thursday. He is the 35th victim of methanol poisoning in the Czech Republic since the outbreak began in early September. But there have been only three victims since the beginning of the month. So far, 21 people have died from methanol poisoning in the Frýdek-Místek region. Another man who drank spiked alcohol is currently being treated in a hospital.
It is the country’s most smelly specialty – Olomoucké tvarůžky – dubbed by foreign visitors as “the stinky cheese of Olomouc” is not something you can easily overlook. Its pungent odor hits you the minute you open the fridge and will render you a social outcast several hours after consuming it. However many consider it to be one of the country’s biggest delicacies and the Czech Republic fought and won a six-year war with Germany and Austria over a protected geographical status trademark.
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