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Alcohol death toll climbs to 29 in Makueni

By ONESMUS NZIOKA | May 8th 2014


MAKUENI COUNTY: “Countryman”, the killer brew that has killed 29 people in Makueni and Kitui counties has been in the market for more than a year, The Standard has learnt.

By time of going to press yesterday, 20 people from Makueni had been confirmed dead, while 69 were admitted at the Makueni Level 4 Hospital suffering from blurred eyesight, convulsions, and general body weakness. The death toll in Kitui had risen to nine.

 According to details on one of the Countryman’s bottle obtained by The Standard, is bottled and blended in Nairobi.

The label lists ingredients of the liquor as permitted quality flavours, treated water and neutral spirit additives. It says the alcohol content of the liquor is 20 per cent. This is lower than other brands that contain 40 per cent. The label terms the liquor as a ‘Finest quality Blend’.

According to Chief Patrick Muange, the brand has been in existence for more than a year and nobody suspected it contained toxic components as it was purported to have been approved by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

Flora Mutheu, a business woman who owns two beer points at Kithuki market, said the liquor was reddish in colour when it first hit the market but later turned colourless.

She stopped stocking the brand saying she doubted its going by its low pricing.

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