published: 25.09.2012, 16:57 | updated: 25.09.2012 17:05:58
Prague - The Czech state will control methanol imports as one of long-term measures to increase the safety of the alcohol market in reaction to a series of methanol poisonings from bootleg liquor, Prime Minister Petr Necas told reporters today.
He indicated that the tax on methyl alcohol might be raised.
Necas, chairman of the senior government Civic Democrats (ODS), today discussed the measures with representatives of the Union of Spirits Producers and Importers (UVDL), the Food Chamber and the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants (AHR CR).
Methyl alcohol is not produced in the Czech Republic and it can be replaced in many products, Necas said.
He also thanked the police for having found the source of the poisonous liquor, which has claimed 26 lives so far. Tens of other people are hospitalised with methanol poisoning symptoms in the country.
The police accused two people from the Moravia-Silesia Region, north Moravia. of endangering the safety of the public in connection with the methanol case. They wilfully made a poisonous mixture and sent it into circulation via a distributor, according to the police.
The two men worked in companies using methyl alcohol in the production of mixtures for car windscreen washers. They legally bought the chemicals from another firm, but consequently abused it.
They allegedly made tonnes of the dangerous mixture from a part of the chemical in late August and early September and gave it to a distributor from Zlin, south Moravia, who added it to alcohol.
The Health Ministry banned the sale of spirits containing more than 20 percent of alcohol across the country on September 14 in reaction to a high number of methanol poisoning cases.
Moreover, the government imposed an immediate ban on all exports of spirits with over 20 percent of alcohol under the pressure of the EU that intended to ban liquor imports from the Czech Republic for up to two months.
Necas pointed out today that a stricter supervision of the methyl alcohol would secure a safer alcohol market in the Czech Republic.
A working group, including representatives of the health, agriculture and finance ministries, is to prepare details of this measure and other measures to be taken over the methanol affair.
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