The laboratory of AS Liviko assures that all our products, including Viru Valge, have been checked and comply with quality requirements. If it is officially confirmed that the reason for the methanol poisoning was really caused by alcohol allegedly labelled as 80% Viru Valge and allegedly purchased from a tax-free shop in Värtsilä on the Russian side of the Finnish-Russian border crossing point, it must have been a counterfeit product. Liviko is concerned about harm arising from possible exploitation of our trustworthy trademark. We kindly ask the media not to amplify this clearly unconfirmed allegation that the source of poisoning is a counterfeit Viru Valge product!
Liviko has not received any factual evidence that the Viru Valge trademark has been counterfeit, because we have merely heard this word-of-mouth legend, while all physical evidence has regrettably been destroyed. Currently, we can only confirm the high and verified quality of Liviko’s products. According to Liviko’s lab, all the vodkas produced in Liviko in 2014 contained zero methanol. (FYI: The EU standard permits 10.0 grams of methanol per hectolitre.)
‘All alcoholic beverages produced in AS Liviko comply with the food safety and quality rules of the EU. Independent supervision over the products of AS Liviko is exercised by the Estonian Veterinary and Food Board who has not made any precepts to Liviko or identified any non-conformities as regards product quality. According to the ISO quality system used in Liviko, closed product samples of each lot of an alcoholic beverage are preserved until the end of the guarantee period of the product. In order words, alcoholic beverages are kept in a glass bottle for up to three years and in a PET bottle for up to one year. Naturally, we are prepared to open our product sample for expert assessment. That is the purpose of preserving them,’ said Velve Tagger, the head of the lab of AS Liviko.
‘No other spirit-aqueous solution besides the one of which products are made is used in the production process and in production equipment. Therefore, any possible discharge of methanol to products is absolutely precluded in the plant,’ explained Production Manager Riho Sõber.
‘Unfortunately, the Finnish hospital has destroyed the evidence required for identifying the origin of the alcohol and the characteristics of the counterfeit. Today, Liviko’s representatives contacted the Finnish police authorities and the hospital in order to find the bottles from which the alleged poisoning originated. A visual analysis of the bottles could help to identify whether these were indeed bottles bearing our trademark as well as what kind of a counterfeit it is, in order to estimate the extent of possible counterfeiting. Both the hospital as well as the police authorities have confirmed that the hospital destroyed the bottles that constitute the evidence in the poisoning case and we cannot identify the products involved in the given case,’ said Janek Kalvi, the Chairman of the Management Board of AS Liviko.
‘We have contacted Liviko’s distributor in Russia, informed them about a possible counterfeiting case and asked for their help in identifying the possible fact of counterfeiting as well as the possible extent thereof. Naturally, we are concerned about a possible abuse of our trustworthy trademark. We have not received any other indications about possible counterfeit products,’ said Janek Kalvi, the Chairman of the Management Board of AS Liviko.
According to the Finnish police authorities, a man who had visited Russia, purchased two 0.5-litre bottles of alcohol that were allegedly labelled as 80% Viru Valge vodka and consumed it, suffered a methanol poisoning and was on February 21 placed under intensive care for two days in the North Karelia Central Hospital.
Since 1997 AS Liviko has had a functioning quality system ISO 9001, which establishes strict rules and work instructions on the acceptance and inspection of raw material and on ensuring food safety.