PEOPLE are being warned to be on the lookout for an illegal brand of vodka that watchdogs fear could be on sale in Hartlepool.
Environmental health chiefs at Hartlepool Council have issued the warning following a nationwide alert from the Food Standards Agency.
The drink, named Drop Vodka, is not registered by any UK company, raising fears that it could be harmful.
Jane Kett, the council’s principal environmental health officer, said: “Food and drink has to go through rigorous testing before it is placed on the market, but because Drop Vodka is not registered it has not been through this process.
“This means we cannot be sure what is in it. We are writing to retailers and other outlets in Hartlepool which we think could be targeted, to warn them about this vodka, but we also want to raise general awareness of this issue.”
Checks also discovered that it does not contain enough alcohol to be legally called vodka at 28.6 per cent instead of at least 37.5 per cent.
The label does not include any producer’s details that are needed to ensure that the vodka is fully traceable.
Drop Vodka has been discovered in small independent retailers, corner shops and petrol stations, but there are concerns that pubs and clubs may have been targeted.
Anyone who finds it on sale in the Hartlepool area should contact the council on (01429) 523320 or call the Food Standards Agency fraud hotline on 0207 2768527.