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Brazil reports third death from suspected poison craft beer

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the Backer beers production plant at the Belo Horizonte, Brazil January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Washington Alves

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A third person has died in Brazil of suspected poisoning from a batch of craft beer contaminated with a toxic chemical used in antifreeze and other products, police in the state of Minas Gerais said on Thursday.

In a statement, police said the man died on Thursday morning of suspected poisoning by diethylene glycol (DEG).

Traces of the sweet-tasting solvent were found in the water tank used by the Backer brewery, whose craft beers have won international prizes and are widely available in Brazil.

The Ministry of Agriculture said later on Thursday that it had found DEG present in eight different beers sold by Backer. Originally it had been thought only their Belorizontina lager was contaminated.

The brewery has been shut and its products recalled.

Backer said it is cooperating with the investigation. It said it does not use diethylene glycol in its production process, but does use a less toxic related chemical – monoethylene glycol.

Police said on Thursday it had carried out search warrants at the company that supplies monoethylene glycol to the brewery.

DEG poisoning can cause neurological complications including paralysis, coma and death.

Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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