Brazil has agreed to compensate those impacted by the diethylene glycol beer poisoning incident in 2020.

The deal between the Public Ministry of Minas Gerais (MPMG) and Cervejaria Três Lobos deals with compensation for sickened victims after consuming a beer produced by the company, Cervejaria Backer.

Ten people died, and dozens of others were affected with blindness and facial paralysis.

The agreement covers medical and other treatment costs, salary payments before illness, loss of earnings, food and transport costs, and money for other expenses incurred.

To be entitled to compensation, the causal link between the beer contaminated by diethylene glycol and/or mono ethylene glycol and the damage to each person’s health must be recognized and confirmed by a unit of the MPMG.

Cervejaria Três Lobos will pay R$500,000 ($105,000) to each victim and R$150,000 ($31,500) to each qualifying relative.

The factory in Belo Horizonte was shut down in January 2020. In 2022, MAPA allowed production and sales to restart. The company replaced the refrigerant fluid in its process with a hydroalcoholic solution that contained water and alcohol.

Another party, Empreendimentos Khalil, will allocate 244 lots of its property, located in Perdigão, to contribute to payments. The majority of proceeds from the sale of properties will be used to pay the victims, forming part of the fund managed by the Associação das Vítimas de Intoxicação por Dietilenoglicol.

Source of contaminated beer
Investigations by police in the state of Minas Gerais confirmed the presence of diethylene glycol, used in the beverage cooling process, in samples of the Belorizontina brand beer. The company said it never bought diethylene glycol but did use mono-ethylene glycol. A hole in a tank caused a leak that allowed the coolant liquid circulating in an external system to mix with the drink inside the container.

Fernando Ferreira Abreu, the consumer protection prosecutor of Belo Horizonte, said the agreement ends the complex civil action resulting from the traumatic event.

“Far from repairing the most intimate damage to the victims and their families, due to absolute physical impossibility, the agreement ensures . . . the right to pay compensation, the only existing means of repairing the damage,” he said.

As part of a proposed recovery plan, Cervejaria Três Lobos will maintain a fund corresponding to 5 percent of its net income as an alternative to paying victims in full. It must also pay R$ 1.5 million ($320,000) to the State Fund for Consumer Protection and Defense.

Public prosecutors filed a complaint against 11 people about the incident, and while some hearings have been held, this criminal process is ongoing.

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