published: 27.09.2012, 14:00 | updated: 27.09.2012 15:10:15
Prague - Czech Health Minister Leos Heger (TOP 09) eased prohibition shortly after 13:00 CEST today, allowing the sales of hard liquor produced in 2011 and before as well as bottles with a proven origin of spirit, or a "birth certificate."
Exports of older spirits and those with a proven origin are also possible.
Heger supposes that the rules for handling hard liquor announced today will be valid for several months during which legislation on the production and distribution of alcohol will be amended.
The total ban of the sales of drinks with more than 20 percent of alcohol was in force for two weeks.
It was introduced in reaction to a series of methanol poisonings that have claimed 26 lives in the Czech Republic and several in Poland.
A total of 85 people have been poisoned.
It is supposed that some 15,000 litres of dangerous alcohol are still in the network, Heger said.
He eased the prohibition with his appearance on national television channels today.
Heger said all open bottles should be liquidated. The owners of bottles with rare and expensive alcohol that have been opened can have the content tested.
The alcohol for which retailers will not able to gain a certificate of origin of the spirit within 60 days will also have to be liquidated.
The certificate form was promulgated in the Digest of Laws today. The Health Ministry will publish detailed information for distributors and producers, Heger said.
He said the rules have been consulted with Brussels and Poland. The Czech inter-ministerial commission will continue its work.
It will be also possible to gradually return to the market this year´s alcohol with a proven origin of spirit and new safety bands.
On Wednesday, the Customs Administration started to distribute to producers stamps with the word NEW printed in red that are destined for alcohol produced after the methanol scandal erupted in early September.
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