Sale of Cosmic Carabao gin violated FDA rules – official

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 3) — The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday said a local liquor company defied rules with its sale of craft gin Cosmic Carabao, which allegedly caused the death of a woman.

FDA Officer-in-Charge Eric Domingo said Cosmic Carabao gin shouldn't be sold in the market because its application for certificate of product registration has not yet been approved.

"Hindi pa nai-inspect at hindi pa nate-testing itong produkto. Technically, hindi pa maaaring ibenta sa merkado dahil wala pang lisensya," he told CNN Philippines.

He said Juan Brew, which manufactured and sold the liquor, may be fined and have its business license revoked because of the violation.

"Definitely may paglabag kasi ibinenta niya ang produkto bago niya makuha ang certificate of product registration. Ang pagbebenta nito na walang (certificate of product registration) ay violation ng kanyang license to operate," he said.

The FDA official said businesses and restaurants that sell Cosmic Carabao can also be held liable. The liquor is sold by several establishments and online shops for ₱630 for 750ml.

"Itong mga restaurant at bars, hindi sila dapat nagse-serve ng mga produkto na walang FDA registration. Kapag mapatunayan na ito nga ang sanhi ng problema, then may pananagutan din sila," he said.

Last week, unverified reports emerged that two women drank the gin then were rushed to the hospital after allegedly vomiting and fainting. One woman died while the other was comatose.

Following the incident, Domingo said FDA is testing the products for methanol. The symptoms of poisoning due to methyl alcohol include drowsiness, vomiting, abdominal pain, and vision problems. It may lead to coma, convulsions, and death from respiratory arrest.

"Kapag improperly processed ang liquor maaring magkaroon ng methanol o kaya kung nilalagyan ito ng methanol from other sources," he said.

The World Health Organization said a high concentration of methanol in alcoholic drinks is usually formed during incorrectly-managed distillation process.

Domingo also noted this may be similar to the lambanog poisoning last year. Over 20 people died in Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon after consuming Filipino liquor lambanog or coconut wine — found to contain high levels of methanol.

CNN Philippines has reached out to Juan Brew.