7 new cases of alcohol poisoning reported

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KUALA LUMPUR: Seven new cases of alcohol poisoning were reported at health ministry facilities – six in Kuala Lumpur and one in Perak – as of yesterday.

Health Director-General Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 76 cases in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Perak were recorded since Sept 15.

“There were a total of 29 deaths of which 18 were in Selangor, nine in Kuala Lumpur and two in Perak,” he said in a statement.

The 29 recorded cases of fatal methanol poisoning involved Myanmar nationals (12), Malaysians (nine), Nepalese (six), Bangladeshis (one) and two persons with no citizenship status.

Noor Hisham added that there were 47 recorded cases of non-fatal methanol poisoning which involved nationals of Nepal (21), Myanmar (10), Bangladesh (eight), Malaysia (seven) and Indonesia (one).

He said the health ministry was carrying out enforcement action nationwide through its Food Safety and Quality Division.

“So far, 262 premises selling liquor have been inspected with 780 bottles of various brands of alcoholic beverages, including brands that did not comply with the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985, seized,” he said.

He added that Section 13 of the Food Act 1983 stated that any person who prepared or sold any food that had poisonous or harmful substances that were injurious to health was committing an offence and could, upon conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or both.

Those with symptoms of methanol poisoning such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, or loss of vision within five days of consuming alcoholic beverages, should seek immediate treatment at a clinic or hospital.