Death drink poisoned on purpose, say police

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2011, 12:00am
 

Jilin police say a flavoured milk drink that killed a boy in Changchun last month had been deliberately poisoned after tests showed that other products in the same batch were not toxic.

The boy died on November 28 and his mother was left in a coma after they drank strawberry-flavoured milk made by Coca-Cola subsidiary Minute Maid in the province. A few days earlier, two other Changchun residents received hospital treatment after drinking the same product. Police found highly toxic pesticides in the drinks.

All products from the batch were pulled off shelves and sealed for tests but no trace of pesticides was found. Tests on other Coca-Cola products also failed to find any pesticide residue, Xinhua reported.

Police believed that someone had added 'dangerous substances to endanger public safety'. Seven experts from the Ministry of Public Security were in Jilin to help with the case.

It did not say whether police had identified or detained a suspect or how or where the drinks were spiked.

While Jilin province has recalled products from the same batch there are no plans for a nationwide withdrawal.

An internal review by the company and tests it asked the China National Centre for Food Quality Supervision and Testing to carry out showed no problems with the drink.

'The police's technical tests and investigations have preliminarily confirmed that this incident is a criminal case,' Coca-Cola spokeswoman Joanna Price said. 'The incident was an isolated act and we are 100 per cent confident that our products are safe and of good quality.'

Jilin's health department found no other cases of poisoning linked to the product. The boy's mother is recovering in hospital.

There have been two cases of suspected mercury poisoning involving Coca-Cola's Sprite lemonade brand in Beijing, the first in November 2009 and the second in January last year. Both drinks had been spiked after they left the factory.

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