“Fake and sub-standard food and drink pose a real threat to health and safety," said Michael Ellis, head of INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting unit. "People are at serious risk and in some cases dying because of the greed of criminals whose sole concern is to make money."
Counterfeit booze proved an alarmingly popular way for these syndicates to bilk unsuspecting consumers, too. Almost 73,000 gallons (275,000 liters) of drinks were confiscated worldwide, of which counterfeit alcohol was the most popular. In the UK, police raided a plant with 20,000 empty bottles, set to be filled with fake, brand-name vodka, along with hundreds of empty five-liter antifreeze bottles used to make the swill liquor and "a reverse osmosis unit used to remove the chemical’s color and smell." TL;DR; think twice about drinking brand-name vodka in the UK. Stick to the room-temperature beer.
Liquor stings also turned up 5,300 gallons (20,000 liters) of fake hooch and a mafia group producing fake whisky in Thailand; more fake whiskey in Uganda; and a shop selling locally brewed beer in re-used, genuine bottles to dupe customers into thinking they were drinking name-brand brews.