Ecuador buying back contaminated alcohol; 48 dead

AP News
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Posted: Aug 29, 2011 6:47 PM
Ecuador buying back contaminated alcohol; 48 dead

Ecuadorean authorities are trying to buy back half a million bottles of contaminated alcohol and end an outbreak of alcohol poisoning that has killed 48 people and sickened hundreds.

The country's health minister says the liquor is tainted with methanol, or wood alcohol, which is used for industrial purposes. The buyback offer involves 14 brands of wine and other alcohol that stores have been barred from selling since July.

More than 500 people have been injured by the contaminated alcohol, with some left permanently blinded.

The alcohol came from small provincial providers that didn't have the required health permits.

Ecuador's government has set aside some $400,000 to buy back the alcohol at 80 cents a bottle.