Alcohol consumers have “no general ability” to detect counterfeit alcohol by taste, new research has revealed. Findings of a study published in the journalFood Chemistrydispute a common belief even among some experts that alcohol consumers may be able to differentiate counterfeit alcohol by its taste.
The researchers from Germany, Kenya and Canada, sourced alcohol from Russia and Kenya, wherecounterfeit alcoholis a well-known and common phenomenon, and explored whether fakes could be distinguishable by taste alone.
The study also used 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) fingerprints to detect any differences in the composition of genuine and counterfeit spirits.
The researchers say the results confirm their previous study that only a sub-group of the population is generally able to distinguish between alcoholic beverages by taste.
Brewers and alcohol distributors in Uganda and generally East Africa are battling against the increasing availability of counterfeit alcohol sold in plastic sachets and bottles. Some of the counterfeit alcohol and wines are being smuggled to the region.
A market analysis for illicit alcohol in Uganda compiled for Nile Breweries by Euromonitor International Consulting in 2016 found that Uganda loses US$172m about Shs616bn in taxes annually to the trade and production of illicit alcohol.
The study found that illicit alcohol production was larger than legal production in both volume and value terms.
The illicit alcohol market according to Euromonitor study continues to growdue to ease of access, high affordability and the uncontrolled production, distribution and sale in both informal and formal channels.
Some of the counterfeit alcohol on the market especially that which is imported contains 40% alcohol, with high methanol levels than what is general accepted in Uganda.
Drinking menthol may cause blindness and even death.