A New York woman recently arrested for driving while intoxicated told police that it wasn’t  liquor or wine that made her blow a 0.26 on the breathalyzer, but rather pure vanilla extract. Although intoxication by vanilla extract is completely possible due to its high alcohol content, the practice is also extremely dangerous.

On Jan. 5, 2015, 46-year-old Carolyn Kesel of Seneca Falls, N.Y., was arrested for driving while intoxicated through a Walmart parking lot, The Huffington Post reported. When questioned by the police, Kesel admitted she had drank two bottles of pure vanilla extract. The extract caused Kesel to become disorientated and drive erratically around the parking lot because she could not find her way out. Kesel was charged with a felony DWI and a felony aggravated DWI. This is Kesel’s second DWI charge.

Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid family, and the manufacturing of vanilla orchids into pure vanilla extract is regarded as the most labor-intensive agricultural production in the world. In order to get the vanilla taste we’re all so familiar with from the vanilla beans, the beans must be cured, dried, and then rested. Alcohol is the most effective way to extract the flavor from the beans, and according to FDA regulations, pure vanilla extract must contain 35 percent alcohol. In comparison, the alcohol content of beer is between two to six percent, wine is around 10 to 20 percent, and distilled liquors are around 40 to 50 percent. In most cases the alcohol is burned away in the cooking process, but when ingested directly, the effects are similar to drinking hard liquor. According to one report, an individual weighting around 154 pounds who drinks a 12-ounce bottle of extract will have a peak BAC three times the legal driving limit.

Chris Thomas, a drug counselor with the Wayne County Mental Health Department, told The Wayne Times that drinking vanilla extract is similar to drinking cough medicine. Cases of vanilla extract ingestion are fairly common, especially among juveniles, due to its easy accessibility. Ingestion of vanilla extract is treated similarly to alcohol intoxication and can cause alcohol poisoning. The ethanol will cause central nervous system depression, which may lead to breathing difficulties. Intoxication can cause pupil dilation, flushed skin, digestion issues, and hypothermia. Other ethanol-containing products which can be abused in similar ways to vanilla extract include: mouthwash, perfume, cold medicine, and other food flavorings.