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Drink was 'deliberately' poisoned

By Cao Yin and Ding Luyang  (China Daily)

08:41, December 07, 2011

CHANGCHUN - A case in which a boy died after drinking a Coca-Cola strawberry beverage has been determined to be an act of spreading poison with intent, police said on Tuesday.

The boy's mother was also poisoned on Nov 28 after they shared a bottle of a strawberry flavored milk beverage made by Minute Maid, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola.

Police in Changchun, Jilin province, later discovered the bottle contained Methomyl and thiodicarb - substances used in pesticides - which had caused the boy's death. The police concluded that the substances must have been put into the beverage intentionally.

But the police did not say who might be involved or when and why the drink was poisoned, and added that the case is still being investigated.

The Ministry of Public Security has dispatched a group of seven experts to the province to guide the investigation, police said.

Some posts on local websites said the culprit was a man who put the poison into the flavored drink with injectors and he went to a hospital twice because he injured his hands injecting the poison, but the local police did not confirm this information.

Minute Maid brand products have been removed from the shelves in all markets across the province, according to the public security authority.

Yuan Fang Supermarket, the small chain store in downtown Changchun where the tainted beverage was sold, has stopped selling drinks - customers could not find even mineral water there on Tuesday evening.

No one who works at the store was willing to comment on the case.

Coca-Cola published a statement on Monday saying it had sent samples to the National Food Quality Supervision and Inspection Center of China and no toxic substances were found in the same batch of the strawberry-flavored beverage in Changchun.

In the statement, the company also said the poisoning was an isolated case and that the company has 100 percent confidence in the safety of its products.

But many consumers in Changchun are concerned about beverages.

A resident named Li said she was afraid to buy any brands of drinks.

"I told my kids not to drink any beverages now," she said, adding that all her family members have been drinking plain boiled water since the incident.

A woman in the city named Wang was also worried about purchasing beverages.

"I'll buy such drinks in big supermarkets instead of small stores," she said.


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