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Market Inspection Launched amid Toxic Alcohol Deaths

South China's Guangdong Province launched an emergent inspection on bulk liquor Friday following four deaths of alcoholism in the province's Baiyun District, the provincial health department announced.

Governments at various levels in the province were required to carry out inspections on all alcohol manufacturers.

It is strictly prohibited for all liquor producers to blending industrial alcohol or methanol in their products and they should strengthen administration on the materials purchasing and product quality.

In addition, Guangdong also strengthened inspection on the qualification of all alcohol sellers.

To prevent fake liquor products enter the market, all alcohol sellers were not allowed to purchase liquor from the producers with no official operating license and products quality certificate.

Two men died of alcoholism Wednesday in Baiyun District of Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, following another two deaths of alcoholism in the district on Tuesday, the local government confirmed Friday.

In addition, eight males, who were suspected as having been sickened by formaldehyde, were receiving treatment in the No. 12 People's Hospital of Guangzhou, said an official with the Guangzhou city government, who declined to give his name.

The two new deaths are Wang Funian and Hou Shangjian, from Taihe Town. Both reported symptoms of alcoholism Monday afternoon after drinking liquor bought in the same stall, and they died in hospital after emergency treatment failed on Wednesday, said the official.

The deaths of Wang and Hou followed another toxic alcohol case in the district's Zhongluotan Town, which killed a 58-year-old man and a migrant worker from central China's Hunan Province on Tuesday night.

The local government acted promptly after receiving the separate reports of similar deaths, and an investigation by the local health department showed that the deaths were caused by fake liquor.

Police have detained 12 people, who were suspected of blending industrial alcohol with rice wine and selling them to local markets and stalls. A total of 94.72 tons of distilled spirit in bulk were confiscated for examination and five rice wine workshops with no official operating license were closed.

In addition, local government called for residents not to buy alcohol products in bulk and publicized the knowledge on alcoholism prevention through newspapers and TV programs.

(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2004)

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