Food Standards Agency
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Fake vodka removed from Lewisham store

Bottles of fake vodka have been removed from premises in Lewisham following a joint operation by the Food Standards Agency and Lewisham Council. Food safety officers from Lewisham Council found the bottles being sold at a convenience store in the borough earlier this month, after being alerted by the FSA’s Food Fraud Team.

A member of the public contacted the FSA after noticing the bottles labelled Drop Vodka in the store. They contacted the FSA’s Food Fraud Hotline, having seen the Agency’s publicity drive in November last year warning consumers not to drink Drop Vodka. The Council’s food safety officers worked with the owner to remove all of the counterfeit vodka from sale. The bottles will now be destroyed.

Drop Vodka is not registered by any company in the UK and could be harmful. Tests carried out by local authorities on Drop Vodka seized throughout England and Wales have identified the presence of propan-2-ol and methanol. They have also found that ‘Drop Vodka’ does not contain enough alcohol to be called vodka. Vodka should contain no less than 37.5% alcohol, but ‘Drop Vodka’ has levels of 28.6% alcohol.

Alcohol fraud costs the UK economy more £1bn in lost revenue each year, with spirits alone accounting for £130 million.

Colin Houston, the FSA’s Head of Incidents and Food Fraud, said: ‘This is a prime example of the benefits of joined-up food law enforcement between central and local government departments. Information received through our Food Fraud Hotline meant we were able to work with Lewisham Council to remove this illegal alcohol from sale.’

Lewisham Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: ‘We are concerned that our residents may be putting themselves at risk by consuming counterfeit alcohol, which often contains dangerous chemicals.’

Anyone who suspects that counterfeit alcohol is being offered for sale should contact the FSA Food Fraud Hotline on 020 7276 8527.