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Alcohol Tainting

2 posts
Alcohol Tainting

We are headed down to El-Cid next week and starting to worry about this alcohol poisoning. Anyone have this happen at El-Cid?!?!

While I'm in here, anyone have suggestions about the resort that will help?!?


48 replies to this topic
Charleston, South...
Level Contributor
13,672 posts
56 reviews
1. Re: Alcohol Tainting

This has been covered a lot on this forum and usually gets deleted. No reports from El Cid that I know of.

2 posts
2. Re: Alcohol Tainting

Thanks. I'm not on here often enough to see the threads

Los Angeles...
Destination Expert
for Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe
Level Contributor
1,868 posts
93 reviews
3. Re: Alcohol Tainting

Hello Gram-Cheryl,

There were a lot of posts about this, but since have gone down, I'm happy to give you a quick recap.

To be 100% safe from alcohol tainting one would need to abstain from drinking. Another option would be to drink beer only, or bring your own bottles of booze and add to the mixer provided by the bartenders.

Me. I plan to drink when we visit again next month. But I plan to drink top shelf alcohol and monitor exactly how much the bartender adds to each drink. A big smile and a "poquito!" usually does the trick.

Alcohol tainting goes on everywhere that a bar is trying to make a buck...always has. It's tragic what happened to that young women, but statistically, injuries and death of tourists are very low in Cancun and surrounding areas, if they were higher, folks would not be returning.

Even though you are on vacation, keep your wits about you and have a great time.

Cozumel, Mexico
Level Contributor
5,847 posts
13 reviews
4. Re: Alcohol Tainting

Here is a link for recent news about Alcohol in Mexico:

Gov’t Test Finds No Tainted Alcohol at Mexico Resort:


Level Contributor
2,926 posts
9 reviews
5. Re: Alcohol Tainting

Why would they do that? (wouldn't it be easier just to water it down, if it was some kind of effort to make more money?) And wouldn't more than two people here, two people over there 8 months later, a couple people over on that side of town a few years ago --- wouldn't people at the swim up bar be passing out in droves?

I know that when we have been at a swim up bar, lots of people are drinking the same thing. Someone orders a drink or a shot - and it looks good to people wondering what to get, so suddenly the bartender is doing rounds for everyone!

I'm very, very sorry for the family who lost their daughter - but both the son and the daughter were 3 times over the legal limit. It could have been foul play -- it could have been a terrible accident caused by roughhousing - falling off the stool, playing chicken and she's up on his shoulders, standing on the bar after the barteneders left.... it's very sad, but nobody will ever know what really happened, and therefore - no blame can really be assigned. I'm going to trust in my own experiences, and that of my traveling companions. We've been on 15+ trips, and I've always felt safe and been safe.

You have to be careful and use good judgment -- anywhere!

Level Contributor
534 posts
7 reviews
6. Re: Alcohol Tainting

The U.S. State Department is taking the issue seriously. This is more than just an isolated incident.


Kansas City...
Level Contributor
13 posts
12 reviews
7. Re: Alcohol Tainting

I too am concerned about this and why posts questioning the subject have been deleted. We love Mexico and have been 5 times with another trip booked in December. However, why would this subject be hidden/removed from those inquiring?

Level Contributor
534 posts
7 reviews
8. Re: Alcohol Tainting

"A test by the government of Mexico has found no indication of tainted alcohol at the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar."


Definitely a trustworthy source.

*rolling eyes*

Level Contributor
2,021 posts
1 review
9. Re: Alcohol Tainting

TA policy has long been to remove any posts about deaths, criminal activity, unsubstantiated allegations or just things they don't like. It is a private site and they can choose to allow or remove whathever posts they want which many people have taken issue with over the years. After much media attention about the policy recently they let a number of these discussions remain.


If you actually research the claim about tainted alcohol that reports 1.4 million gallons of tainted being siezed it actually is 1.4 million gallons of ILLEGAL alcohol siezed since 2010. The actual 2017 report by the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks doesn't say it is tainted in anyway. It says its illegal likely because it is either moonshine made for locals by locals, watered down by bars to stretch it, or more because it is untaxed because it entered the country illegally. The word "tainted" appears nowhere in the report neither does "adulterated" or "methononl". https://www.gob.mx/cofepris/prensa/113399 Poor English translation from JSO …jsonline.com/jsi_news/documents/mexico-fede…

The suggestion that it is tainted came from the JSO article about the Conner death and the follow up story on claims of tainted alcohol that have been repeated by the media who picked the story up off the internet and ran it without doing their own research. If you read or listen to the stories they all refer back to or give a byline to the original Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stories.



The 2015 Mexican’s Tax Administration Service report that the media says found 43% of alcohol being tainted doesn't say tainted it too says 43% of all alcohol was found to be illegal, mostly because it wasn't taxed i.e. moonshine made by locals who can't afford the real stuff or prefer shine (just like in parts of the US) or smuggled in. Look at the JSO and other earlier articles thay all say "illegal" not "tainted" tainted got added in later by the media who wanted to sensationalize the story more.

A few 2015 Tax Administration reports none of which refer to tainted alcohol

sat.gob.mx/sala_prensa/…com2015_090.aspx www.sat.gob.mx/m/Paginas/DetalleMovil.aspx… - this one does note some sanitary violations but doesn't mention specifics or methanol

sat.gob.mx/sala_prensa/…Cofepris_15032016.pdf - this one mentions dirt in bottles, missing labels, and other but no methanol



Even an attorney for the Conner family who visited the Del Mar pool area doesn't say there is tainted alcohol he said, according to JSO, that they “They serve alcoholic drinks with alcohol of bad quality and in great amounts, mixing different types of drinks." Bad quality doesn't mean tainted it means cheap.

If 43% of all alcohol in the country was tainted the number of people affected by poisoning would be massive and not easily hidden since it would be in every town. Even if it was limited to resorts 4 in 10 bottles being bad would result in too many incidents to cover up, particularly in the era of social media.

The warning by the State Department isn't a warning since it is not included in the Mexico Travel Warning, last updated in December 2016, but rather under the general information area under "safety and security" along with other common sense safety tips.



It does not warn about tainted alcohol but says

"Alcohol: There have been allegations that consumption of tainted or substandard alcohol has resulted in illness or blacking out. If you choose to drink alcohol, it is important to do so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill."

The key word is "allegations" there has been no proof of tainted alcohol being served beyond self-reports from people who blacked out either from tainted alcohol that affected no one else who drank from that bottle, being roofied by a random, or just drinking too much. Shots and liquor poured into mixed drinks isn't measured at most pool bars, it is free poured resulting in shots much larger than the "standard" 1 - 1.5 oz shot so people end up drinking more than they think.

Recent testing found no tainted alcohol https:/…2017.html and the government has said they will conduct more unannounced random testing in the entire region.

Do bad thing happen in Mexico? Yup, but that's true of everywhere. I think the media pays more attention because it is a vacation destination.

Destination Expert
for Puerto Morelos, Yucatan Peninsula
Level Contributor
3,127 posts
68 reviews
10. Re: Alcohol Tainting

TA takes things down for many reasons. They are not trying to hide a topic. There are plenty of posts still up with a lot of information. My advice is read all of the links out there and form your own opinion. Terms like tainted are being thrown around based on a report that talked about illegal, not tainted. Many of the reports are accusations which are fine to listen to as long as they are not shared or posted as facts.

If you want to read more about this not taken down go to the Riviera Maya forum and you will find thousands of posts on over 20 threads. Lots of info.

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