Issued By
Durham County Council


Contaminated vodka that can cause drinkers to go blind and into a coma could be on sale in the region.

That's the warning from Durham County Council's Consumer Services who are warning shoppers to steer clear of bottles of Imperial Valkonov Vodka which contains dangerous levels of methanol.

People who drink the contaminated spirit may not be immediately aware of the danger as the symptoms of methanol poisoning can take several hours to occur.

They include severe abdominal pain, drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision leading to blindness and the risk of coma with breathing difficulties.

"Twenty four bottles of the vodka were found on sale in the Loughborough area recently, and a similar product found in the Manchester area also contained dangerous levels of methanol," said Phillip Holman, the County Council's Head of Consumer Services.

"We are warning consumers and retailers to be on their guard for the product in this region and would urge people to be suspicious if they are offered cheap bottles of vodka from sources they are not sure of.

"We're working with our district council colleagues to check products on sale in the area and we would urgently advise anyone to let us know if they think this vodka is being sold locally," he said.

The vodka found in Loughborough was marked 'Distributed for K.M.G. 57, Bodana Khmelnitskogo Str 236039 Kalinginrad Russia for EEC.'

Councillor Don Ross, Deputy Leader of the County Council, said: "This vodka poses a serious risk to health and consumers should be particularly suspicious if offered such products."


Note to News Editors: For further information contact Peter Fleming, Assistant Head of Consumer Services on 0191 383 3584, or Duncan Castling, divisional manager, on 0191 383 3056.

A photograph of the contaminated vodka bottles, issued by the Food Standards Agency, is available.