Health Beat: World Alert for Tainted Food

July 2, 2013 — By Jen Benepe

We’ve all heard the reports about massive health alerts related to the virus SARS carried by infected live food stocks. Or of Alberto Contador’s claim that he ate meat tainted with clenbuterol in 2010.

A plant discovered in Great Britain was manufacturing fake Glen’s Vodka with poisonous ingredients chlorine bleach, and methanol.

But we bet you haven’t heard of this one: Vodka laced with chlorine bleach and methanol, enough perhaps to kill you or blind you for life.

An alarming report surfaced out of Great Dalby, England recently about the arrest of Kevin Eddishaw who oversaw the distillery at Moscow Farm which produced large numbers of tainted and counterfeit vodka under the Glen’s vodka.

The findings were first reported by the New York Times.

This reporter first suspected something was amiss more than 4 years ago when attending the East Side bar AuBar at 41 East 58th St., and a glass of vodka made me so sick I spent most of the night in the bathroom.

Fraudulent Bollinger’s champagne has been discovered.

The high from that one glass was sickening, making me feel as if I swallowed a toxic poison.

Since then AuBar has closed and has been replaced with The Grand.

But I never forgot that experience, and now, news is coming out that Glen’s vodka is the handiwork of the Russian mob.

“Tens of thousands of liters of counterfeit spirits were distilled, pumped into geniune vodka bottles, with near perfect counterfeit labels and duty stamps, and sold in corner shops across Britain,” wrote Stephen Castle and Doreen Carvajal in an article printed on June 27.

Cases of poisoning have been reported across Europe, including the Czech Republic where more than 20 people died from counterfeit liquor.

Vodka isn’t the only foodstuff being foisted in poisonous form on the public by organized crime: horse meat, chocolate, olive oil, and even wine and champagne carrying the labels of Jacob’s Creek and Bollinger’s, have been found to be laced with poisonous additions.

“Increasingly the frauds are the work of organized international criminal networks lured by the potential for big profits in an illicit trade,” wrote the NY Times.

These criminals are capitalizing on the world economic downturn, and offering their counterfeit goods to an unsuspecting public that has tightened their pursestrings.

Among the poisons used to water down goods are so poisonous that they cause real harm–such as olive oil that was found with added engine oil.

Fraudulent foods aren’t limited to toxic additions, as many foods are intentionally mislabeled for higher pricing.

Sometimes small details give away otherwise convincing forgeries, such as the name Australia spelled without the middle “a”, or “Austrlia.”

Other items the authorities found was a box of fake Durex condoms.  Sales online can be particularly troublesome.

All of this suggests that you should only buy food goods from companies you trust, but your best bet is to shop at a local farmer’s market where you know exactly where the food is produced.

Maybe we owe Contador an apology?

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