The State Department Friday said that it has received 12 reports of tainted booze from sickened American visitors to Mexico and said it is concerned that drinking liquor in some tourist areas “has resulted in illness or blacking out.”
Spokeswoman Heather Nauert urged American visitors to the resorts and who feel ill from drinking to “seek immediate medical attention” and contact U.S. officials.
“We take our responsibility to provide safety and security updates to U.S. citizens very seriously,” she said.
Her comments to Secrets came after State’s inspector general opened a probe into the department’s handling of complaints about Mexico’s resorts from Americans. It was requested by Wisconsin Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee who has been seeking answers to the death in Cancun of a 20-year-old Wisconsin woman.
State’s warning comes as many Americans ready for holiday vacations in Mexico and the latest targeting bad liquor reports at even five-star resorts. And it joins another warning about killings and kidnappings in Mexico, including around Cancun, Cozumel and Tulum.
Mexican officials have denied that resorts are tampering with liquor. However, in his request for a probe, Johnson said that “as much as 43 percent of all alcohol consumed in Mexico is illegal.”
Nauert said that State is on the case. Her full statement is below:
We are concerned about reported incidents that the consumption of substandard or unregulated alcohol in some tourist areas in Mexico has resulted in illness or blacking out. To date, the Department of State has received 12 reports from individuals with concerns they may have consumed unregulated alcohol. Any U.S. citizen who falls ill should seek immediate medical attention. We also encourage U.S. citizens to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico.
We take our responsibility to provide safety and security updates to U.S. citizens very seriously. Following these reports and in consultation with our Embassy and Consulates in Mexico, on July 26, 2017, we updated our Country Specific Information for Mexico to provide information regarding unregulated alcohol concerns.
We would like to reiterate that if any U.S. citizen traveler becomes ill and suspects they consumed substandard alcohol in Mexico, they should seek immediate medical attention and contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This allows us to provide consular assistance, and raise concerns with our Mexican counterparts.
We urge all travelers to review our information on travel.state.gov before they travel. We continue to provide safety and security updates as they become available.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com