Following media reports of allegedly tainted alcohol being
served at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, the U.S. State Department has
updated its information on Mexico to include a caution about drinking alcohol
While the State Department's travel warning on Mexico --
which focuses on potential violence from criminal organizations -- has not been
updated, the information provided on the country has
"The Department of State provides up-to-date safety and
security information through our Consular Information Program," a
spokesperson said. "Following these reports and in consultation with our posts
in Mexico, we updated our country-specific information for Mexico to provide
updated safety information regarding potentially tainted alcohol."
Under the "Safety and Security" heading, along
with other topics, the website now states: "Alcohol: There have been
allegations that consumption of tainted or substandard alcohol has resulted in
illness or blacking out. If you choose to drink alcohol, it is important to do
so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel
The State Department spokesperson urged U.S. citizens who
become ill to seek medical attention immediately and contact the nearest U.S.
embassy or consulate.
The update came after a report in the Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel about a January incident in which a 20-year-old woman drowned in a
pool at the Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar after drinking with her brother. Her
brother nearly drowned and suffered a concussion. Her family's attorney later
visited the Riviera Maya resort and reported, "They serve alcoholic drinks
with alcohol of bad quality and in great amounts, mixing different types of
drinks." The report also highlights stories from other tourists who said
they blacked out after only a few drinks, furthering the question of whether
the alcohol was "tainted."
The Mexico Tourism Board said in a statement that it has been
monitoring the situation. "We can confirm the strictest guidelines and
processes related to alcohol procurement, handling and serving of guests with
the goal of ensuring quality and control are in place by the hotel and
industry," it said.
In a statement, Iberostar said it was “deeply saddened by
this incident" and that guest safety was of "utmost importance."
"Iberostar Hotels & Resorts welcomes more than half
a million guests per year in Mexico. A high standard of quality for food and
beverages is crucial for the daily operation of our resorts," the company
said. "We work with food and beverage providers whose products comply with
the highest quality standards to guarantee the satisfaction and safety of all
of our guests. We work with a host of providers in the area who service other
hotel chains and renowned brands. Similarly, we only purchase sealed bottles
that satisfy all standards required by the designated regulatory authorities."