Warnings issued in UK over 95% abv spirit

13th January, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

UK authorities have raised concerns over the labelling standards of 95% abv Spirytus Rektyfikowany, three months after death of an Australian teenager who drank three shots of the spirit.

Australian teenager Nicole Bicknell died after drinking shots of 95% abv Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany

Lancashire Trading Standards have warned consumers never to drinks Spirytus Rektyfikowany neat

Thought to be the strongest commercially available spirit in the world, many retailers and stockists say Spirytus should never be consumed neat, and should instead be used as a base for liqueurs and other infusions.

However, Trading Standards officers in Lancashire have issued fresh warnings that consumers should not consume the spirits neat, adding that the product may not have “adequate labelling”.

“We are aware that these products are on sale in some Polish shops in Lancashire and we want to make unsuspecting customers aware at the earliest opportunity about this issue,” Rachel Wilcock, of Lancashire’s Trading Standards, told the Lancashire Telegraph. “An abv of 95% is simply too strong an alcohol to be drunk neat, as a shot drink.

“We suspect the product may not have adequate labelling, i.e. not having instructions for use in English, and therefore poses a hazard to people who consume it neat.

“Most spirit drinks are around the 40% abv mark, so this is more than double the strength of regular spirits. We don’t want people to misuse the product thereby posing a risk to their health and possibly their lives.”

In November last year, a teenager in Perth, Australia, died after drinking three neat shots of Spirytus Rektyfikowany, reigniting the debate over the commercial availability of super-strength alcohol.

Nicole Bicknell collapsed after drinking the spirit on her 18th birthday and died a few hours later.

Both Dan Murphys and Woolworth’s Liquor Group subsequently removed the spirit from their shelves, while the Australian Drug Foundation said the tragedy emphasises the need to warnings to be printed on the labels of high strength alcohol.

One 500ml bottle of Spirytus Rektyfikowany is thought to contain the equivalent amount of alcohol in 38 standard drinks.

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