Trading Standards officers in Moray are warning the public to beware of the dangers of fake alcohol after a seizure of 200 bottles of Vodka from a local retailer.
Information provided by Police Scotland following a complaint from a member of the public sparked the raid on a small store – now samples from the bottles have been sent for analysis by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Investigations by council officers, supported by intelligence from the FSA and information supplied by the manufacturer, Glen’s Vodka, revealed that allegedly counterfeit vodka has been offered for sale in a number of small independent retail outlets in London, the Midlands and in the north of Scotland.
The allegedly counterfeit Glen’s vodka can be identified by spelling mistakes. The word ‘bottled’ is misspelt on the front label as “Produced and botteled in Great Britain”.
The text below the wording “ENJOY GLEN’S VODKA RESPONSIBLY” on the rear label should read “DRINKAWARE.CO.UK” rather than “D-RINK AWARE.CO.UK”.
Consumers are being advised by the FSA that they need to be vigilant, checking bottles closely for spelling errors on the labels of any Glen’s Vodka brand they may already have purchased. They are being advised not to drink any vodka they suspect is not genuine.
Geoff Ogle, the director of the Food Standards Agency in Scotland, said: “The Food Standards Agency continues to work with enforcement agencies across the UK to stamp out the trade in counterfeit alcohol.
“A very cheap bottle of vodka may seem like a fantastic bargain, but the safest thing to do is not to buy it and if you have any concerns report it immediately to your local authority trading standards.”
Moray Council principal environmental health officer James McLennan added that it was a cause for concern that fake vodka was being sold in Moray: “Food fraud is not only a crime but it can put the health of the public at risk.
“These drinks can be produced in clandestine premises where there are no controls over hygiene or of the composition of the drinks. Licensed premises should only purchase products from reputable suppliers where the provenance is known.”
The council’s trading standards manager, Peter Adamson, said counterfeit alcohol was a known problem across the UK. He said: “Previous unannounced trading standards and environmental health inspection have not found any in Moray.
“However, this seizure shows that fake alcohol is being sold locally. Retailers are advised to only buy from reliable sources and to seek advice from trading standards if they have concerns that suppliers are selling fake goods.”
Councillor Chris Tuke, who chairs Moray Council’s planning and regulatory services committee, said: “It is concerning that fake vodka has been found for sale. The trade in illicit goods undermines legitimate traders and supports organised criminal groups who manufacture and distribute fake goods.
“Our trading standards and environmental health officers will continue inspections and use complaints and other intelligence to target action against counterfeit goods, including alcohol.”