After State Department Notice, Mexico Resorts Talk Alcohol Safety

Following yesterdays security update from the U.S. State Department regarding allegations of tainted alcohol at resorts in Mexico, major resort companies are highlighting the steps they take to ensure the safety of their food and beverage offerings.

A representative of Iberostar Hotels & Resorts tells Travel Agent that Mexicos Health Ministry has confirmed that it has not detected tainted alcohol at Iberostar hotels.

The company says it makes certain to comply with federal and local regulations, and that it works with high-quality partners whose services the company submits for both routine controls and yearly audits. Iberostars entire supply of alcoholic beverages offered at its Mexico resorts comes from recognized distributors, and all alcohol has seals and licenses to guarantee quality.

Iberostar also does external audits at its hotels on a monthly basis to certify its sanitary and hygienic measures, as well as that it is following federal and local regulations, including the FTO – Health & Safety Technical Guide, Codex Alimentarius and HACCP system standards.

Other security measures at Iberostars properties include active security personnel 24 /7 and the restriction of public access to the hotels. The Parais Complex has a CCTV system with 130 security cameras throughout the hotel, a project the chain initiated in 2010. Iberostar says it also plans to roll out a second phase, which will focus on building interiors, pool areas and outside bars.

The company also regularly hosts inspections by travel agents and tour operators.

A representative of Palace Resorts likewise tells Travel Agent that the company prides itself on only offering top shelf liquor from brands like Johnny Walker, Grey Goose and Bacardi. Each bottle is legally purchased and sealed, and, if the seal is broken, the hotel returns it. Bartenders are also kept under strict surveillance by supervisors, and the companys quality control department works to ensure bartenders and employees adhere to guest safety procedures.

Most of Palace Resorts food is produced by its own service and distribution center, called CEDIS. By concentrating all of its food production, services and storage in one place, Palace Resorts says it can ensure standardized production and better quality control. CEDIS has been certified with the H recognition by SECTUR, Mexicos Secretary of Tourisms stamp for hygiene, as well as with the TIF certification, which means that the foods products and meat by-products have been carefully inspected. The facility also complies with regulations by SAGARPA, Mexicos Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food.

Going forward, Palace Resorts says it will continue to operate in the same manner that it always has, noting that its alcohol purchasing policies have always been very strict. The company says that, while Cancun and the hotel zone continues to be one of the safest tourist destinations in the world, travelers should continue to exercise precautions when traveling, not just in Cancun but worldwide.

Yesterday the U.S. State Department updated the Safety and Security section of its Mexico country page, warning travelers that there have been allegations of consumption of tainted or substandard alcohol at resorts in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

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 ill, the State Department wrote.

The State Department update follows an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel into the death of 20-year-old Abbey Conner, who was found unconscious in a pool in January at the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar, and later died. An attorney hired by Conners family to investigate her death produced a report which included an allegation that resort staff served alcoholic drinks with alcohol of bad quality and in great amounts, mixing different types of drinks. Further investigation by the Journal-Sentinel found other tourists who alleged that they had also experienced sickness, blackout and injuries after drinking at the resort and other resorts in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

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