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PM orders alcohol inspections

Update: March, 13/2017 - 09:55
On March 6, 7 and 8, the centre’s doctors treated four serious cases of homemade alcohol poisoning, but one died and two remain in critical condition. — Photo Bạch Mai Hospital

HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked for stringent management of liquor products following a series of alcohol poisoning cases.

In a message he issued, municipal and provincial People’s Committees are requested to enforce regulations on food safety, in general, and alcohol product safety, in particular, and punish infractions of the law.

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Trade and Industry are asked to inspect the production, sales and consumption of liquor products nationwide, and perfect regulations on management of liquor products, especially homemade alcohol.

Individuals and organisations are prohibited from displaying and trading liquor products without trademarks and with unclear origins.

Hundreds of alcohol poisoning cases have been reported nationwide, with nine deaths in Phong Thọ District of the northern mountain province of Lai Châu last month.

Last Thursday, Hà Nội’s market management force seized 1,000 litres of homemade alcohol from a local shop. The alcohol was mostly rice wine infused with insects or wild fruit and herbs.

The shop owner said he purchased the booze from wine-making households in northern Hưng Yên province and then transported it to Hà Nội to sell for VNĐ30,000 (US$1.3) per litre. The owner didn’t produce any trading licence or origin certification for the alcohol.

The increase of alcohol poisoning cases in the city has been blamed mainly on drinking cheap wine at street restaurants. Most of the poisoning victims are labourers from rural areas who work in Hà Nội. The  Hà Nội-based Bạch Mai Hospital’s Poison Control Centre treats hundreds of alcohol poisoning cases each year.

On March 6, 7 and 8, the centre’s doctors treated four serious cases of homemade alcohol poisoning, but one died and two remain in critical condition.

The city’s health department is considering banning eateries from selling alcohol of unclear origin. It is also conducting an awareness drive for business owners on the consequences of consuming alcohol of unclear origin. — VNS

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