Counterfeit alcohol doubles in three years

The seizure of illegal alcoholic beverages has almost doubled in the last three years in the country. The number of units seized rose from 471,085 in 2019 to 900,692 in 2021, an increase of 91%, according to the data. IRS. In terms of values, the increase was slightly higher, from 109.5%, equivalent to BRL 31 million in 2019, to BRL 67.1 million in 2021.

The illegal market continues to rise in 2022. In the first four months of this year, only 223,300 units were seized, equivalent to R $ 18 million. In addition to smuggling, theft, tax fraud and cargo theft, the problem of false spirits is the one that worries him the most about the damage it causes to health.


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The rise in illegality in the alcoholic beverage market can be explained by the decline in Brazilian incomes and the reduced access to the Covid-19 pandemic. Adulterated drinks cost 60% less than the original value.

According to Cristiane Foja, Executive Chairman of Abrabe (Brazilian Beverage Association), the problem has worsened since the start of the health crisis. In addition to the increase in the volume of illegal drinks seized, there was also an increase in the number of repressive operations carried out by police teams in the Civil, Federal, Highway, Federal Revenue and Senaco (National Consumer Secretariat) police of the Ministry of Justice. .

“What is happening is that the illegal market is deteriorating, perhaps because of the country’s economic situation. There are several social factors that justify the growth of outlawry. Difficulty access is an important factor. We had a pandemic era when the dry law was imposed in more than 200 cities to prevent people from coming together. With difficult access to sales, consumers end up looking for illegal ways to buy products, ”says Cristian.

According to a poll by Abrab, São Paulo is the state with the highest incidence of counterfeit drinks, after Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. On the other hand, the smuggling scene has been intercepted by three states in the southern region of Brazil, with Rio Grande do Sul in first place.


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damage to health

Gastrosurgeon and endoscopist Eduardo Grecco has warned of the dangers of health from taking an adulterated drink, which can lead to intoxication and coma. “You have no control over what chemicals you put on and above your alcohol level. Patients may experience seizures, weakening and loss of consciousness due to a highly potentiated effect if their alcohol level rises above 50% to 60% without proper control, ”he says.

It also highlights the effects of the doctor on the digestive tract. The substance passes through the esophagus and falls into the stomach, which can lead to gastritis, bleeding gastritis, ulcers, intoxication and liver damage.

How to spot a fake drink

• The first tip is to be careful with the price, as illegal drinks are up to 60% cheaper.

• Try to buy drinks in trusted locations or in areas that require a distributor’s bill.

• Check the packaging and label for differences with the originals.

• See that you have the IPI (Tax on Industrialized Products) stamp on distilled products.

• Make sure the seal is closed. Violation may have caused the drink to be tampered with.

• Be suspicious if the liquid has different colors and odors, particles, and dirt.


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Fighting illegality

The underground market affects the consumer and the country’s economy. A 2018 study by Euromonitor showed that the sale of illegal drinks had an impact of R $ 10.2 billion on public coffers in 2017.

The fight against illegality, according to the Arab executive president, is being waged through repression and compromise, with campaigns to warn the population. In addition, information is shared between manufacturers’ entities and security agencies. Together with the Ministry of Justice, the organizations intend to step up their actions.

The National Anti-Piracy Council is in talks with industry organizations such as Abrabe (Brazilian Beverage Association), which last year launched an education campaign for traders and consumers. A meeting was also held recently between representatives of the council and the ABBD (Brazilian Association of Distilled Drinks), ”the Ministry of Justice said in a statement. According to the folder, the next committee will be on June 26th.


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