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Food Scare Scandals


In 1989 Heinz had to withdraw baby food worth an estimated pounds 30m when Rodney Whitchelo, a former Scotland Yard detective, attempted to extort millions of pounds from the food giant by spiking the food with bleach and razor blades. He was later sentenced to 17 years in jail.


Sales of Perrier water were hit in 1990 when traces of carcinogenic benzene were found in bottles in the United States. The company belatedly withdrew 160 million bottles worldwide at a cost of pounds 150m. Sales of a billion bottles a year fell to 700 million by 1994.


Millions of bottles of Lucozade were withdrawn from shops in 1991 after police uncovered a contamination attempt by animal rights activists. It cost Smith-Kline Beecham, the drink's manufacturer, an estimated pounds 1m. Two years later 12 million bottles of the drink were taken off shelves because of concern that the necks could break when they were opened.


In June last year millions of bottles and cans of Pepsi, Tango, 7-Up and other fizzy drinks were removed from the shelves after fears that the carbon dioxide content had been contaminated by benzene at a plant in the West Country.