Bottles of Coke tainted with chlorine sold in Shanxi

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2012, 12:00am


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Just a day after the exposure of drugs in toxic capsules, mainland media reported yesterday that contaminated bottles of Coca-Cola, made by one of the drinks giant's mainland factories, had been sold earlier this year.

A staff member at Coca-Cola (Shanxi) Beverages, based in Taiyuan, told China National Radio that more than 120,000 boxes of Coca-Cola products containing excessive amounts of chlorine had been sold in February.

When workers fixed water lines in the factory on February 3, they mistakenly mixed up lines carrying water containing high levels of chlorine - used for disinfection - and water to be used for making beverages, the staff member said.

When people arrived at the factory the next day they found that their own drinking water tasted heavily of chlorine.

By February 8, the company had received so many complaints that it investigated both its own drinking water and the water used for making beverages.

Tests detected a high percentage of chlorine in the water used for making beverages, triggering the halting of production at the factory.

The staff member said the company found that more than 120,000 boxes of Coca-Cola were problematic and sealed the products. However, the seals were removed not long afterwards and the products sold to markets in Shanxi .

'Then all our production lines were resumed and sales returned to normal ... at a meeting, the general manager assured us that our products had no problems and that we had quality examination reports [testifying to the products' safety],' the staff member said.

Chlorine is often used to disinfect water, but the intake of large amounts can substantially increase the possibility of cancer.

Coca-Cola's Shanxi branch said in a statement that the chlorine scandal was a simple mistake and the information from the 'internal source' did not accord with reality.

It said all its products had passed strict quality tests and were in line with mainland quality requirements.

Shanxi's provincial food quality inspection and test centre said it had checked for 18 substances in beverages produced by the factory, but not chlorine.

News portal NetEase Finance reported that the provincial quality and technical supervision bureau vowed yesterday to check all Coca-Cola products on sale in Shanxi.