Food Safety Authority warns over fake vodka

Small quantity of counterfeit Smirnoff product discovered for sale on Irish market

A small quantity of counterfeit Smirnoff red label vodka has been found for sale in Ireland, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has warned.

The FSAI said it had received information from the Food Standards Agency in the UK, where an investigation is ongoing into counterfeit alcohol.

Laboratory analysis for the Irish counterfeit vodka (sold in 1L size) did not detect harmful ingredients, but the alcohol content was 32 per cent rather than the 37.5 pe rcent in the genuine vodka.

“The FSAI is advising consumers and food businesses to be vigilant when purchasing this product and if they have any doubt about its authenticity not to purchase or consume it,” the body said in a statement.


FSAI chief executive Prof Alan Reilly said the analysis carried out to date on the counterfeit product had not identified specific food safety hazards.

He said the source of the alcohol was unknown, however, and there may be contaminants in other batches.

“Given we have no information as to when or where this alcohol originates from, it would be unwise for anyone to drink it.

“The counterfeit vodka was found on sale in the retail and pub sectors. Food businesses should only source stock from registered distributors and wholesalers, as it is their legal responsibility to ensure the food and drink they are selling complies with all food safety and traceability requirements.”

Prof Reilly advised people to look closely at the bottles they have or were about to purchase to seek to establish if it could be potentially counterfeit.

The fake product is labelled ‘Produced in Ireland’, while genuine the genuine Smirnoff product is labelled ‘Produced in the United Kingdom’.

However, if people have old product in their house that was purchased over 18 months ago that states ‘Produced in Ireland’ on the label, it will be legitimate, the FSAI said.

The counterfeit product has an address in Ireland but the genuine product has an address in the UK. In addition, the quality of the printed labels is of inferior quality.

The FSAI has contacted businesses selling alcohol and has asked that if they find any of the counterfeit product that they immediately remove it from sale.

The body is working closely with environmental health officers in the Health Service Executive, Diageo, An Garda Síochána and the Customs Service. It is also in close contact with its counterparts in the Food Standards Agency in the UK.