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Bottles covered with paper bag with sign "Hegerovice" displayed on bar in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Jaroslav Ozana/Czech News Agency/Press Association Images

Warning issued to Irish consumers about Czech alcohol

Spirits with more than 20 per cent alcohol have been banned in the country after a wave of methanol poisonings.

THE FOOD SAFETY Authority of Ireland has warned anyone travelling to the Czech Republic to avoid drinking locally-produced liquor.

The advice comes as a total ban on all products with alcohol content of greater than 20 per cent is introduced across the country after a number of methanol poisoning fatalities.

Authorities in the Czech Republic have confirmed that at least 19 people have died and 36 more have been hospitalised after drinking illegally produced liquor containing high levels of methanol.

The FSAI says it will continue to liaise with the Czech government and the European Commission on the issue. Although authorities say the effects of the alcohol are confined to the Czech Republic, there are now reports of a number of deaths in neighbouring Poland. Investigations are under way to see if the fatalities are linked to the methanol poisoning incidents. Four people have also been hospitalised in Slovakia with suspected poisoning.

It is understood the ban in the Czech Republic could last for months. Consumers have also been warned not to purchase alcohol online.

-With additional reporting by AFP

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