Belgian wine alert after woman dies from sip of MDMA drug
Belgian authorities have issued a warning after a woman died, having apparently taken one sip of a glass of wine contaminated with the drug MDMA.
The 41-year-old woman from Puurs near Antwerp died in December, five days after losing consciousness and being admitted to hospital.
It is unclear how she got hold of the bottle but some drugs are commonly dissolved into wine for smuggling.
Investigators say the woman was not a drug user.
Prosecutors have warned anyone who finds a similar bottle with a cork that has been tampered with not to open it.
They said the woman had died of a lethal amount of MDMA and MDA in her bloodstream and that a witness had said she had only taken a sip from the bottle because it tasted bad. The two drugs are synthetic substances and MDMA forms the base for ecstasy.
Where did the wine come from?
Mystery surrounds how the woman got hold of the wine, which was in a bottle that originally came from Dutch company Black and Bianco.
Prosecutors said the original black cork with the company logo had been removed and replaced with an unlabelled beige one. The company said it was very shocked by the news that one of its Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon bottles had been used.
But in a bizarre twist, it emerged that the woman who died had worked at a shop that sold products confiscated by Belgium's federal finance service.
According to reports, another person had fallen ill in 2017 as a result of wine taken home from the shop.
However, the finance ministry insisted the latest incident was different. A spokesman said the shop no longer sold food or drink to individuals and staff were not allowed to take confiscated goods home.
"We only sell sizeable batches to buyers and only after the necessary tests have been carried out by the customs laboratory," Francis Adyns of the public finance service told Le Soir.