South Korea Orders Recall of German Draft Beer

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South Korea’s food safety authorities said Friday that they ordered the recall for two brands of German draft beer contaminated with sodium hydroxide.

The order by the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) covers 1,628 casks of Schwarzbier and Hefe Weizen beer made after Dec. 9, which European health authorities said could pose health risks.
The 48,840 liters of alcoholic beverages sold on the local market were made by Privat-Brauerei Schmucker GmbH & Co. and imported by Schmucker Korea, the KFDA said.
Sodium hydroxide, or caustic soda, is commonly used to make pulp, textiles, detergents and as a chemical peeling agent for fruits and vegetables. If ingested, it can cause stomach aches, diarrhea and in very serious cases comas.
“All wholesale and retail distributors along with restaurants and pubs that handle the beer have been told to collect the product and send it back to the supplier,” the KFDA said.
European inspectors suspect that the chemical got into the beer by mistake since it was used by workers to clean pikes that transport the beverage during the production process, it said.