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Kazakhstan steps up control over Czech and Polish liquors

20 september 2012, 13:37
0
Kazakhstan follows other countries in enhancement of control over import of liquors from Czech Republic and Poland, Tengrinews.kz reports citing the press-service of Kazakhstan Healthcare Ministry.

“In relation to deaths in Czech Republic and Poland linked to use of alcohol, Czech-made vodka and rum in particular, Kazakhstan’s sanitary service instructed the State Sanitary-Epidemiological Control Commission of Kazakhstan Healthcare Ministry to enhance control over import and sales of liquorы with over 20 percent alcohol made in Czech Republic and Poland,” the press-service writes.

Meanwhile, the Czech government plans to lift the ban on strong alcoholic drinks that it imposed after the wave of poisoning deaths, but only when new safety measures are in place, AFP reports citing the country's prime minister.

"All alcohol authorized for sale will require a new excise stamp," as a safety mark, Prime Minister Petr Necas told reporters just before midnight Wednesday.

Czech bars and drink producers have been counting their losses after the blanket ban on spirits sales hit profits amid an unprecedented wave of alcohol poisonings that has claimed 23 lives.

The problem is bootleg spirits tainted with methanol, which has also left scores of people requiring hospital treatment.

Around 40 were hospitalised on Wednesday alone, some of them in serious condition and placed in artificial comas.

The ban on sales of liquor with over 20 percent alcohol, in force since last Friday has also cost the state 130 million koruna ($6.8 million) in sales tax every week, according to the DNES broadsheet daily.

Necas, the head of a centre-right cabinet, has previously said that the prohibition -- for the first time in the country of 10.5 million that has the world's second highest adult alcohol intake after Moldova -- was "a necessary and correct step."

The liquor ban will have to remain in place for some weeks, while the new safety measures are set up.

The prime minister said his finance minister, Miroslav Kalousek, would sign an order overnight to allow for the special excise stamps, which will be made available to producers by around the end of next week.

Necas also said the government would introduce a "birth certificate" for each bottle of spirits, allowing it to be traced back to its production site.

Some 30 people have been charged in relation to the methanol poisoning and 13 held in provisional detention, according to Czech police.

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