11 dead after drinking 'lambanog' in Laguna

ELEVEN persons died after drinking "lambanog" or coconut wine in Rizal, Laguna, police said.

A total of 301 individuals who consumed the same local wine were hospitalized Sunday, December 22, 2019, prompting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health (DOH) to issue a warning against consuming unregistered products.

FDA officer-in-charge Eric Domingo said regulatory inspectors have already been deployed to the municipality of Rizal in Laguna to collect samples and investigate the alleged poisoning incident.

"We advise the public to exercise extreme caution in purchasing and consuming the alcohol beverage, and to buy only those registered with FDA," Domingo said.

This was seconded by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III, who explained that irresponsible processing of lambanog may pose serious health threats to consumers.

"Lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which, in high levels, becomes highly toxic for humans,” said Duque in a statement.

The 301 individuals consumed "Rey Lambanog" on Sunday afternoon.

Initially, the officials said the product is not registered with the FDA.

"Although we have yet to have confirmation, it seems that it does not have a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR)," said Domingo.

Based on a list provided by the FDA, there are only 14 registered lambanog as of December 23.

These are Mang Andoy, Island Coco, Lakan Bronze, Jimmy's (Bubble Gum Flavor), Jimmy's (unflavored), San Juan Lambanog, Lakan Extra Premium, Craft Distilled Lakan, Lakan Silver, Dory's Lambanong, Jimmy's Lambanong (Strawberry), Ram-Ciel Lambanog, San Juan Premium Lambanog, and San Juan. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)