MANILA - Five samples of coconut wine, locally known as lambanog, collected in the town of Rizal in Laguna tested positive for toxic levels of methanol, the Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday.
The 5 samples that tested positive were collected from Rey Lambanog, Emma's Lambanog store, and Orlando Mapa store.
The samples were collected last Dec. 23 from several sellers in the town which has seen 15 deaths and hospitalizations of hundreds more due to consumption of a botched batch of the liquor.
"Very low levels of methanol may be present in alcoholic beverages provided they are byproducts of natural fermentation. The high levels found in the samples make them toxic," Health Undersecretary and FDA officer-in-charge Eric Domingo said.
It can be recalled that the owner of Rey Lambanog, surrendered to authorities last Monday and promised to help shoulder the victims' expenses.
Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is a flammable and poisonous liquid and ingestion of at least 30 ml is potentially fatal, the FDA said.
Absorption through the skin or via inhalation may also lead to toxic effects, it added.
"For their safety and that of their loved ones, we urge all consumers to patronize only registered food and drink products registered with the FDA and sold my licensed manufacturers and dealers especially during the holidays," Domingo said.