Anti-counterfeit work wins award for The Highland Council

The Highland Council has received a Certificate of Excellence for its work relating to authenticity testing of branded spirits.

Trading Standards Officer, Glenys Brown  has received an award from the International Federation of Spirit Producers UK,  (IFSPUK) in recognition of her work  as an enforcement officer in protecting the consumer from illegal spirit substitution.

Spirit substitution or ‘tipping’ as it is sometimes known is the refilling of a branded spirit bottle with another spirit, usually of an inferior quality. In a previous press release issued by the IFSPUK Ltd, illegally refilling branded spirits with a cheaper product was said to be on the increase. The press article highlighted that 2% of pubs and more than 10% of independent licensed restaurants were illegally substituting brands, giving them an unfair competitive advantage and costing consumers an estimated £10 million a year in the UK.

By working in partnership with Trading Standards and Environmental Health Services, the IFSPUK aim to drastically decrease this illegal practice. The IFSPUK represent the UK’s spirit producers which include well known brands such as Barcardi rum, Smirnoff vodka and Gordon’s Gin.

Trading Standards Officers and Environmental Health Officers carry out screen tests on these spirits using authenticity dip tests.  Authorities can also use a whisky brand authenticator to carry out additional surveys testing the authenticity of Famous Grouse, Bells and other well known brands of whisky.

Councillor John Laing, chairman of the Council’s Transport Environmental and Community Services, said: “Detection of spirit substitution is paramount in ensuring fair competition within the licensed pub and restaurant trade in the Highlands and protecting Highland consumers as well as tourists coming into the area, from illegal or substituted spirits.  Glenys has put in a power of work in this important area of enforcement work and thoroughly deserves this recognition.”  

13 Aug 2009