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Bootleg coconut wines kill Filipinos

International 25 Dec, 2019 Follow News

Bootleg coconut wines kill Filipinos

The Philippines medical services are having to deal with deaths and serious illness after hundreds of people drank contaminated coconut wine.

At least 11 people have died after drinking coconut wine, including some who were celebrating at a Christmas party.

Authorities also say more than 300 others were treated in hospital after consuming lambanog in Laguna and Quezon, south of Manila.

Many were admitted after Laguna's mayor, Vener Munoz in Rizal, urged people to see medical advice following the deaths between Thursday and Sunday.

Lambanog is popular in provinces and often consumed during holidays and celebrations. Unregulated production and sales of the beverage are common in the Philippines and it is often made illegally with dangerous additives.

Jonas Del Rosario, a spokesperson from the Philippine General Hospital, said: "Lambanog is being fermented from the sap of a coconut flower. If it is fermented, it produces methanol during the fermentation. Sometimes, the lambanog being sold has too much methanol content."

The country's Food and Drug Administration has previously warned about the dangerous and prohibited use of methanol as an additive in home brews. The Department of Health said blood tests and samples of leftover lambanog would be collected and analysed.

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