Scotland Warns about Risk of Counterfeit Wine & Spirits

Scottish shoppers are being urged to check their alcohol carefully this Christmas.

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counterfeit-booze

Scottish shoppers are being urged to check their alcohol carefully this Christmas.

© Shutterstock

If you're leaving out a tipple for Father Christmas this year, you might want to double check it‘s the real deal...

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS) are urging consumers to be cautious about counterfeit alcohol over the festive period, saying it poses serious health risks.

Low-to-medium priced, market-leading brands of vodka and wine are particularly being targeted by fakers, invariably producers from outside of Scotland, said the head of FSS’ Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit Ron McNaughton.

“Drinking these types of cheap products presents a huge risk to health, and in the worst case scenario, counterfeit alcohol can cause death," he said.

Spot the signs

The most obvious sign of a counterfeit product is its price, but consumers should also be wary of brand names they've never heard of, along with odd labelling and tampered seals.

It's estimated annual sales of spirits and wine in the European Union are worth about €38 billion and €1.3 billion/US$1.8 billion or 3% are lost due to the presence of counterfeit products in the market.

The EU Intellectual Property Office estimates €263 million is lost in the Spanish wine and spirits manufacturing sector each year as a result of fake products, an estimated €136 million in France and €162 million in Italy.

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