Two major breweries in Mexico, Heineken and Grupo Modelo have suspended production in line with government directives to halt non-essential activity. This has created a shortage of beer and bootleg beer is being sold.
According to a tally by Mexican daily newspaper Reforma on Wednesday, more than 100 people in Mexico have died from drinking adulterated alcohol over the past two weeks.
The potentially fatal bootleg alcohol contains dangerous substances, such as methanol in some cases. Local authorities have launched investigations to identify the suppliers, and urged citizens not to consume alcoholic drinks of unknown origin.
The fatalities, reported by states including Jalisco, Yucatan, Puebla and Morelos since the start of the month, appeared to spike after Mother’s Day in Mexico on Sunday, according to officials and local media reports.
The toll rose to 20 on Wednesday in the municipality of Chiconcuautla in the central state of Puebla, a day after it declared a health emergency following 17 deaths from consuming tainted beverages. The local government said it had confiscated 200 liters (352 pints) of a local alcohol known as “refino” and was conducting studies to determine its contents.
Federal health regulator COFEPRIS said last week it was investigating the sale of adulterated alcohol.
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