Chinese authorities made an alarming discovery during a routine distillery inspection—let’s just say that it aroused more than mere suspicions about the illegal practice of lacing liquor.
Two distillers in China’s Liuzhou city are under investigation for putting Sildenafil—the active ingredient in the anti-impotence drug Viagra—in three different bottlings of baijiu. Some contaminated bottles also contained anti-inflammatory drugs and traces of another anti-impotence drug, tadalafil.
Baijiu, China’s national spirit, is made from grain and is rumored to protect the liver, preserve youth and even cure illness. Although the company’s marketing often champions the spirit’s “extra health benefits,” its drinkers may finally have an explanation for some of baijiu’s unexpected side effects.
In an online statement on August 1, the Liuzhou Food and Drug Administration announced that law enforcement confiscated 5,357 bottles that were suspected to have been tainted with drugs, 1,124kg of raw alcohol and a batch of white powder labeled Sildenafil from two baijiu alcohol plants.
These investigations are the latest in a series of crackdowns resulting from national food safety scares. The China Food and Drug Administration found Sildenafil or a similar drug in more than 60 wine products from 52 companies throughout China. Police declared a criminal investigation into Liuzhou’s laced baijiu, along with 18 other cases.
Drinkers in China’s Guangxi region might want to think twice before mixing up a baijiu cocktail. In China, combining chemical ingredients with alcohol is illegal, not to mention a major health risk.
Law enforcement recalled the contaminated drinks from stores and production is currently at a standstill at the companies under investigation.