Issued By
Northumbria County Council

Whisky Warning


Northumberland’s consumer watchdogs have warned people not to drink counterfeit bottles of whisky.

It comes after the Food Standards Agency said the counterfeit bottles of Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky have been contaminated with unacceptable levels of methanol and could cause serious harm.

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

Mick King, County Trading Standards Officer, said: “The whisky is counterfeit and should not be drunk. The symptoms of methanol poisoning can be delayed for several hours and anyone who has drunk this product may not be immediately aware of the dangers. Any person who may have drunk it within the last 24 hours should contact their doctor.

Our first priority is to get this product off the market and to protect public health. If anyone has stocks of these counterfeits they can contact us for advice without fear of prosecution. Our department are prepared to collect and destroy suspect bottles with no questions asked.”

Identification of the Counterfeit Product

The counterfeit bottles can be identified from genuine Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky by a number of subtle differences. These include:

·        Spanish language on the rear label

·        Fake lot code 'L04P24878342' printed on the rear of the front centre label.

·        The word "Distillers" in the Royal Warrant statement the counterfeit bottles' neck labels is incorrectly spelt as "Distilleries".

·        The counterfeit bottles have no 'E mark' on their base between '700ml and 73mm'.


Anyone who has the counterfeit product at home should contact Trading Standards immediately:


Tel:                  01670 534585

Fax:                 01670 534590



Further information is available from:

Nicola Sleightholme, Public Relations Assistant, Northumberland County Council

Tel: 01670 533252


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