Counterfeit vodka in Moldova
Last year the authorities of Moldova declared a war on counterfeit alcohol. At the beginning of February, the Premier Vasilie Tarlev called an extraordinary session for the representatives of Ministries of Economy and Agriculture, Customs Department, License Chamber, Center for Struggle against Economic Crimes and Corruption, Ministry of Internal Affairs and other departments. All of which were subjected to tough criticism and were listening to the Premier`s appeals to protect our consumers from fake alcohol.
By the end of 2003 in Moldova 18 enterprises were qualified to sell alcoholic drinks, which produced more than 100 names of vodka. Though never before it was equal wine sales here, recently it became the main alcohol consumer item. Mainly because of its price. That is why vodka is the most often counterfeited.
Moldovan controlling units are trying to stand against its`imitation and smuggling, but penalties are not of much help. They seized one lot in the North, but the same problem with the smugglers appeared in the South. And add to it the uncontrolled borders with Transnistria. According to recent data within one month from February 11 to March 16 of this year, the officers from the Center for Struggle against Economic Crimes and Corruption seized 1285 liters of alcohol which did not have documentation. During this year the police revealed 5 alcohol production facilities and 2,600 bottles of counterfeit vodka.
The question is how to restrict the alcohol falsification on a national scale? At the session as of March 18 the officials offered to solve this problem in a technological fashion.
According to what we have learned, the internal affairs authorities demanded a sooner to adoption of the state register for ethyl alcohol turnover (which enlists the codes of legal alcohol producers) and to put into operation customs offices with special quality labs in Ungheni, Ocnitsa, Leuseni, Otaci and Palanca. In customs offices and in free trade zones it is recommended to assemble an automated alcohol quality control system. According to one member of the Informational Technologies Dapartment staff, who prefers to remain incognito, it will use excise stamps with a higher level of protection against forgery.
What do the producers themselves think about production and shipping control toughening? According to Moldova`s only producer of grain alcohol, the “Entex” company, they have been trying to solve the problem by themselves – by changing the design of bottles, using labels and seals with protective elements, etc. But they are not very efficient. The counterfeit products do not decrease in number and one can buy them even in the supermarkets of good reputation, as the bogus producers make agreements with the shop assistants, shop managers and distributors.