Deadly Arak Overdosed With Methanol, Police Say
DENPASAR ~ Police said this week one of three bottles of food additive confiscated from UD Tri Hita Karya, whose owner is under arrest after 25 deaths among arak drinkers, was 99.8 percent methanol.
A spokesman said the arak factory’s owner admitted his arak contained ethanol. The food additive is generally mixed in small quantities in local arak (not the proprietary brands sold in licensed shops) to give a sweet aroma to the product.
The additive bought by UD Tri Hita Karya was from Surabaya and transported by Tuna Jaya to Denpasar.
Police spokesman Sugianyar said the factory normally used a production formula consisting of 50 percent food additive plus mineral water to produce arak at 35 percent proof. “This mixture is for presentation, aroma and quality,” it said.
UD Tri Hita’s production was inspected by health authorities on November 5 last year and received a negative assessment under regulations dating from 2003. Police say the company took no action.
The factory was also inspected on December 14, 2007, when it was found to be in breach of health regulations.Filed under: The Island