Coconut wine causes 11 deaths in Philippines
Hundreds of people were hospitalized and at least 11 died from drinking poisonous coconut wine during Christmas celebrations in the Philippines, the country’s state-run news reported Tuesday.
The casualties from sipping the spirit, called lambanog, were in the Laguna and Quezon provinces, according to the Philippine News Agency.
The Southeast Asian country’s Department of Health confirmed two of the deaths Tuesday, and said 265 people have been sickened by methanol, a form of alcohol.
“Lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels becomes highly toxic for humans,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said. “Methanol is a naturally occurring substance present during the distilling process, that should be separated and removed thereafter.”
The DOH stated that the country’s “Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has repeatedly issued warnings to lambanog brewers over its high methanol content and advised the public to exercise extreme caution in purchasing and consuming the alcohol beverage, and to buy only those registered with FDA.”