This image shows Cosmic Carabao gin, which authorities are now looking into over reports that two women fell into a coma after drinking the gin.
Juan Brew/Released
FDA, DOH probe local brewery over alleged death from poisoning
( - July 3, 2019 - 6:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health on Wednesday said they are investigating local liquor manufacturer Juan Brew after a woman allegedly died from methanol poisoning after drinking its gin.

The agencies are specifically recalling Juan Brew’s gin product Cosmic Carabao, which allegedly caused the possible methanol poisoning of two women in Quezon City.

Eric Domingo, officer-in-charge of the FDA, said the administration has not yet confirmed if methanol in Cosmic Carabao led to the hospitalization of the two women.

Domingo said the agency has no details on the incident yet as it only received anecdotal reports from social media and from the National Kidney and Transplant Institute that two women, whose identities were not disclosed, fell into comatose state after drinking the gin in Quezon City.

One of them reportedly died.

The FDA and the DOH are investigating potential safety issues with the locally-made gin and have already obtained samples to test.

Meanwhile, Domingo revealed that Cosmic Carabao is not yet registered with the FDA.

“Itong Juan Brewery mayroon siyang license to operate na valid until 2023, pero itong produkto mismo itong Cosmic Carabao nu’ng pinacheck natin ang registration kaka-apply pa lamang niya for registration for a certificate of product registration nitong end of May 2019,” Domingo said in an interview with CNN.

(Juan Brewery has a license to operate that’s valid until 2023, but its productcCosmic Carabao, when we checked its registration, they had just applied for registration for a certificate of product registrationat the end of May 2019)

Domingo said the manufacturer cannot sell the product yet as its registration is still in process. That means Juan Brew already has a violation of its license to operate, Domingo said.

'Citrus-forward gin'

Juan Brew, which has yet to issue a statement on the supposed alcohol poisoning, has been selling Carabao Cosmic gin since 2018. It is being sold online at P695 for a 750-ml bottle.

It described the gin as “world citrus-forward gin that combines the finest natural botanical ingredients from: The Philippines, Vietnam, India, and France for your pleasure.” Juan brew said it did not use syrups nor extracts in the small-batch craft gin.

The manufacturer also listed the following as its ingredients: Distilled water, neutral spirit (from sugarcane), juniper berries, coriander seeds, dayap lime, angelica plant root, kaffir leaves, green, cardamom pods.

If proven to violate the FDA laws, Juan Brew may be fined or lose its license.

Domingo reminded the public and establishments to check the drinks they are purchasing. He said business establishments that sell unregistered drinks may also face sanctions.

Last year, the FDA recorded several cases of methanol poisoning from lambanog or coconut wine. It caused the deaths and hospitalization of several people in some parts of the country. —Rosette Adel

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