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Confiscated mezcal: as if a worm's not enough. Confiscated mezcal: as if a worm's not enough.

Assortment of animals in seized mezcal

Authorities in Oaxaca confiscate bottles containing snakes, spiders and more

A worm in a mezcal bottle is no surprise, but snakes, lizards and spiders?

A raid in Oaxaca city’s Benito Juárez market resulted in the seizure of 15 bottles of mezcal containing an assortment of animals, the federal environmental protection agency Profepa said yesterday.

It identified 10 different species of wildlife inside the mezcal bottles, including three entire boa constrictors and four other varieties of snake.

There were also two types of lizard along with iguanas and tarantulas in the bottles, labeled as “artisanal, wild agave” mezcal.

The mezcal vendor was fined after failing to produce documentation showing the origin of the animals and the store was closed by the state Health Secretariat.

The head of the state’s mezcal regulatory council, Hipócrates Nolasco Cancino, claimed the spirit in the bottles was not mezcal but a variety of agave moonshine.

While mezcal bottles containing a worm are a common sight, fruits and animal species have been traditionally pickled in prized bottles of the drink.

Source: Milenio (sp), NVI Noticias (sp), Associated Press (en)

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