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Brits Warned of Counterfeit Vodka

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LONDON, Nov 30, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A new health warning following discoveries of counterfeit bottles of Kirov vodka has been issued by Britain's Food Standards Agency.

Bottles seized by the U.K. Customs and Excise from an off-license establishment in Kent were shown in tests to have been contaminated with unacceptably high levels of methanol, United Press International reported.

These bottles can be distinguished from the genuine Kirov Vodka by their plain red screwtops and their lack of any code marking on the neck of the bottles.

Genuine Kirov Vodka screwtops are printed with a gold and black double-headed eagle. The British government's food safety watchdog warned that methanol poisoning can induce abdominal pain, drowsiness and dizziness, blurred vision, blindness and breathing difficulties leading to coma.

"Consumers should avoid the 'too good to be true' bargains offered for sale, particularly in the run up to Christmas," a spokesman warned. A 42 year-old woman in Edinburgh, Scotland, died after drinking counterfeit vodka.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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