Suspected methanol poisoning deaths rise to 21 as more cases reported


PUTRAJAYA: Another six cases of suspected methanol poisoning have been reported in the Klang Valley, including two deaths reported in private hospitals, said the Health Ministry. This brings to 21 the total number of fatalities reported so far.

Meanwhile, analysis of three different brand samples collected had shown that only the Grand Royal Whisky was found to contain methanol and did not adhere to the Food Act 1983, it said.

The number of suspected cases reported at government health facilities as of 12 noon on Wednesday (Sept 19) stands at 55 - Selangor (48) and Kuala Lumpur (seven) - while the total cases from private health facilities could not be confirmed yet, except for the two who died, said Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

"The number of cases is expected to increase when more patients seek treatment," he said in a press conference after the ministry's post-Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (Sept 19).

It was earlier reported that as of Tuesday (Sept 18) evening, 51 cases of methanol poisoning had been reported in the Klang Valley, resulting in 19 men dead while 14 others were in critical condition.

Dr Dzulkefly said that the ministry, through the Food Safety and Quality Division has taken product samples for analysis.

The alcoholic drinks suspected were Grand Royal Whisky, Mandalay Whisky and King Fisher beer but currently, analysis from samples had shown that only the Grand Royal Whisky was found to contain methanol and failed to adhere to the Food Act 1983, he said.

It also did not adhere to the labelling requirements such as not putting the name and address of the manufacturer, importer or agent as required by the Food Regulations 1985, he said.

Dr Dzulkefly said that the Ministry is currently monitoring the alcoholic product and other brands that did not adhere to the law.

As of Wednesday, 291 bottles of alcoholic drinks of various brands had been confiscated, he added.