The Laguna and Quezon provinces had seen an outbreak of methanol poisoning on Christmas celebration last year. At least 14 people have died and nearly 500 people were hospitalized after drinking lambanog (traditional Filipino distilled coconut wine) with high methanol content. The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed this and urged the public to be wary on purchasing and consuming lambanog and other alcoholic beverages. These products should have proper labels and be registered with the FDA.
According to Department of Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels become highly toxic for humans. Methanol is a naturally-occurring substance present during the distillation process of alcoholic beverage production, that should be separated and removed thereafter. FDA subjected the samples collected from the suspected manufacturers of lambanog with high methanol content to laboratory tests. Majority of the samples contained 11.4% to 18.21% methanol. The human body can only handle less than 0.5% methanol; higher than this can be extremely toxic to humans. Awareness matters – for both the consumers and the manufacturers not just of lambanog, but also of other wines, beers, and alcoholic products.
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