FDA finds 'high level of methanol' in Cosmic Carabao Gin samples

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday, July 9, ordered the seizure of all Cosmic Carabao Gin products in the market after it found a "high level of methanol" in samples of the alcoholic beverage tested by the agency.

The FDA released its findings 4 days after it launched an investigation iinto the product, following a report that a woman died and another woman  fell ill after consuming the gin brand, both allegedly showing symptoms of methanol poisoning.

"In light of the developments on the investigation of the Food and Drug Administration with regards to the incident involving two women who allegedly consumed ‘Cosmic Carabao Gin,’ this Office shall order the seizure and/or confiscation of the product as the samples collected and subjected to FDA analysis were found positive for methanol," it said.

"The FDA hereby warns the public on the consumption of the implicated product as this is currently unregistered and has been confirmed to contain a high level of methanol," the agency added in a statement.

The FDA  said that to protect the public, its inspectors and enforcement officer "shall seize and/or confiscate all Cosmic Carabao Gin products available in the market."

"All local government units and law enforcement agencies are requested to ensure that this product is not sold or made available in their localities or areas of jurisdiction," FDA said.

The agency said that methanol is a "product of natural fermentation and is found in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic fermented beverages" at non-toxic trace amounts.

"Higher concentrations of methanol in alcoholic drinks can happen when methanol is deliberately added to alcoholic drinks,"  it added.

The FDA said signs and symptoms of methanol poisoning include headache, vomiting, abdominal pain, hyperventilation, and difficulty breathing; and that "blindness can also happen in severe cases."

News had circulated online that other people had been hospitalized after consuming the gin brand, which has been promoted as artisinal craft gin. (READ: Stay safe: Netizens help warn public va Cosmic Carabao Gin

The FDA had said on July 5 that Juan Brew, the manufacturer of the gin, violated FDA rules by selling the product as its application for certificate of product registration had not been approved. 

"The FDA hereby reiterates its previous advisories following the casualties due to the consumption of unregistered food products including alcoholic beverages that have not gone through this agency’s registration and testing," it said.  

It also urged the public to report the continuous sale or distribution of  the product via email (report@fda.gov.ph) or through its  Center for Food Regulation and Research hotline at (02) 857-1900 locals 8112 or 8105. – Rappler.com