At least 11 people have reportedly died and hundreds have been sickened in the Philippines from drinking coconut wine during Christmas celebrations.
The casualties from the drink called lambanog occurred in the Laguna and Quezon provinces, according to the state-run Philippine News Agency.
The Southeast Asian country’s Department of Health reported two of the deaths Tuesday and said that 265 people have become sick and that the cause is methanol.
“Lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels becomes highly toxic for humans,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said. “Methanol is a naturally occurring substance present during the distilling process, that should be separated and removed thereafter.”
The country’s Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly issued warnings to lambanog brewers over its high methanol content and advised the public to be careful when purchasing and consuming the beverage and to buy the wine that is registered with the FDA.