MEXICO: Ban imposed on Porfidio Tequila after fraud scandal

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The Tequila Regulation Council (TRC) and the government of Mexico have banned the domestic and foreign sale of Porfidio brand tequila based on charges of false labelling and selling a product that does not meet established norms.

When the TRC became aware that a Tequila product that does not meet its standards was being sold under the Porfidio brand name, it made a surprise visit to the production plant. There investigators discovered 24,000 litres of aged Tequila and 18,000 litres of white tequila, all of which had misleading labels and fell short of industry standards.

During the second week of June Miguel Aguilar, head of the norms section of Mexico's economics secretary, announced that the customs department had been ordered to cancel export permits for Tequila products made by Porfidio Distillery. At the same time the National Association of Supermarkets and Department Stores ordered that all its affiliates remove the products from their shelves.

According to Javier Arrollo, president of the TRC, serious charges are pending against operators of the distillery in question. Not only did the TRC discover product misrepresentation, but also evidence of commercial fraud perpetrated by means of false shipping documents and product descriptions.

The TRC took immediate legal action to close the offices of Porfidio Distillery and those of an associated distribution company called D Reyes. All of the substandard Tequila was confiscated. Criminal charge of fraud and obstruction of justice are pending against management of the two companies.

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