Regulation & Safety

Coca-Cola restarts sales after Greek hydrochloric acid scare

14-Jan-2014 - By Joe Whitworth+
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Coca-Cola has resumed the sale of Coca-Cola light and Nestea in two regions of Greece after warnings of contamination with hydrochloric acid prompted its removal.

The firm removed all plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) 500ml packages of Coca-Cola light and Nestea (all flavors) in the Attica and Thessaloniki regions in late December.  

Coca-Cola told us that they had restarted sales of the products from 7 January, according to the developments of the case and after confirmation from the authorities.

Following information by the Hellenic Police on a contamination attempt with hydrochloric acid, the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) issued a product recall notice.

Coca-Cola took action after police confirmation of a warning in the form of a video and contaminated product was sent to a media outlet.

It is unclear how many packages were affected by the removal.

Hydrochloric acid is used in the production of chlorides, fertilizers, and dyes and is corrosive to the eyes and skin, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Economic sabotage

FAI/IRF Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front claimed responsibility, issuing a warning that they would contaminate the products and put them back on supermarket shelves.

“Our goal is the withdrawal of these products by the companies for as long as our action goes on. We ask everyone to completely avoid these products so as not to create any danger for his/her health,” said the organization.  

“Our goal is economic sabotage, not the poisoning of any unsuspected person.”

They said that four days after sending the letter to the news outlet they would return 63 plastic 500ml bottles of Coca-Cola light and 42 plastic 500ml bottles of Nestea to supermarkets for 10 days. 

Coca-Cola product removal

In a statement sent to FoodQualityNews.com, Coca-Cola said that the safety of its consumers is the primary and nonnegotiable priority for the company.

“We are already in the process of a precautionary removal of all plastic PET 500ml packages of Coca-Cola light and Nestea (all flavors) in Athens and Thessaloniki.

“Since the first moment, we are closely cooperating with the relevant authorities who are thoroughly investigating the case.”

Coca-Cola light was recalled

All other packages of Coca-Cola light and Nestea products will continue to be provided and the recall only affected the above regions.

Coca-Cola said it will continue an open communication with consumers and remain at the disposal of authorities for direct cooperation to handle the issue, according to the announcement dated 27 December.  

EFET advised consumers in Athens and Thessaloniki not to consume the products on a precautionary basis.

The company distributing these products in the Greek market has already started precautionary withdrawal and is also constructively cooperating with the Hellenic Police and EFET, contributing in this way to the effective resolution of this case,” said the recall notice.

“EFET has already started relevant controls in the targeted markets in Athens and Thessaloniki in close collaboration with the Hellenic Police and would like to assure consumers that every possible effort is being made, in order to protect human health from such incidents.”

Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front said that they contaminated the products with hydrochloric acid as a sign of solidarity with two of its members, imprisoned in Spain for placing explosive devices.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Soft Drinks & Water, Juice Drinks, Ingredients