State Dept. warns of possibly tainted alcohol in Mexico

Xavier Trudeau
Juillet 29, 2017

When you're on vacation, the last thing you expect to happen is to wake up in a foreign hospital, unsure of how you got there.

After a series of frightening and sometimes deadly incidents at resorts in Mexico, the U.S. State Department issued a warning Wednesday that "consumption of tainted or substandard alcohol has resulted in illness or blacking out". CBS News reports that over 1.4 million gallons of tainted alcohol have been seized in Mexico since 2010.

The incidents have occurred to both teenagers and adults near Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

The update by the State Department came following an investigation into the death of Abbey Conner a 20-year old from the USA who had been found unconscious in a swimming pool last January at a hotel in Cancun and later died. The two had arrived with their mother and stepfather at the resort just hours earlier and had been drinking at a swim-up bar. Incidents were also reported at other all-inclusive resorts in the region.

In another instance, a woman from Iowa staying at the Iberostar Cancun with her husband and two kids had one shot and half a mixed drink before blacking out and winding up in a hospital.

Dozens of people say they've blacked out after minimal drinking. She too believes her drink was drugged.

A 2015 report from Mexico's Tax Administration Service found that 43 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the nation is illegal, produced under unregulated circumstances resulting in potentially unsafe concoctions.

The bootleg liquor could be infused with grain alcohol or unsafe concentrations of methanol, cheaper alternatives to producing ethanol, government reports warn.

This comes after a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report that five-star Mexican resorts are being accused of serving unsafe and illegal alcohol to their guests. "If you choose to drink alcohol, it is important to do so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill", the statement says.

Spain-based Iberostar told the Journal Sentinel that the company purchases only "sealed bottles that satisfy all standards required by the designated regulatory authorities".

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