Filipinos can soon celebrate the upcoming Christmas season more merrily this year with safer and non-fatal lambanog.
The Department of Science and Technology has devised a field test kit that allows manufacturers to detect poisonous methanol levels in the local coconut wine known as lambanog.
Lambanog, a traditional distilled liquor made from coconut, remains to be a popular drink across Luzon due to its smoothness and potency, containing an alcohol volume of 40 to 45 percent alcohol.
DOST created the field test kit in collaboration with Cavite State University to provide lambanog makers with an affordable and more accurate way to test their product for dangerous methanol levels.
According to the Department of Health, lambanog poisoning is caused by high levels of residual methanol. While a naturally occurring substance in the distilling process, the lambanog should not contain more than 30 milliliters of methanol before consumption.
The traditional liquor is especially popular during the Christmas season, which has been the culprit behind mass poisoning incidents in recent years — 11 people died while hundreds were rushed to the hospital for suspected methanol poisoning during the festive season in 2019.