Chloroform is found in off-licence vodka

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Trading standards have warned two off-licenses after checks caught them chloroform and cleaning fluid laced vodka

Potentially dangerous vodka was found by Tameside council in two shops
Two off-licences have been warned after they were caught selling vodka laced with chloroform and cleaning fluid.

Trading standards officers found bottles of ‘Drop’ and ‘Red Star Russian’ vodka on sale at Zaf’s Foodstore and Broadoak Mini-Market, both on Broadoak Road in Ashton-Under-Lyne.

Experts from the Food Standards Agency warned that the vodka could cause serious health problems including dizziness, breathing difficulties and even blindness.

The Drop vodka contained chloroform and cleaning fluid and the Red Star Russian vodka contained 19 times the permissible level of methanol.

Management from both shops appeared before the liquor licensing speakers’ panel earlier this month. The panel was told that one bottle of vodka found at Zaf’s had been left by a man offering cheap vodka.

The member of staff accepted they had no authority to make purchases but the bottle was left in case anyone expressed an interest, the panel heard.

The owner said that if he had been aware the vodka was not legitimate it would not have been left on display.

At Broadoak Mini-Market, the panel heard that the alcohol had been bought by a member of staff while the owner was abroad.

The bottles were placed in a storeroom. The owner claimed that when he returned he thought they were old stock and put them on display.

The owner said that since the alcohol was found, his staff had been fully briefed about the importance of not purchasing products over the counter.

The shop owners were unavailable for comment after the appearance.

Catherine Piddington, Tameside council’s cabinet member for trading standards, said: “I cannot stress enough how dangerous products like this can be.

“You only need to look at the list of possible effects of consuming illegal alcohol like this to realise that it’s just not worth it.”

Following the review, Zaf’s Foodstore received an official warning, and Broadoak Mini-Market had a number of restrictive conditions placed on its licence, including a requirement that they now have to document where they buy their alcohol from. Following the discovery, all off-licences in Tameside were checked but no others were found to be selling the vodka.

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