Coca-Cola Co beverages were tampered with in northern China and police are investigating after a child in the city of Changchun was killed and three other people were sickened, the government said.
“Dangerous substances” were added to Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid strawberry-flavored pulpy milk beverage, according to a statement posted on the Web site of the Jilin Province government, where Changchun is the capital.
The world’s largest soft-drink maker said yesterday tests showed the death and illness were not related to the quality of its product.
Coca-Cola carried out internal reviews of production and warehousing processes, checked retention samples of production batches and had tests conducted by the China National Center for Food Quality Supervision and Testing, the Atlanta-based beverage maker said in an e-mailed statement.
China pledged to intensify food protection after baby formula tainted with the chemical melamine killed at least six infants and sickened about 300,000 in 2008.
The Minute Maid drinks were temporarily taken off store shelves last week in Jilin after a child died and an adult became ill after drinking the product.
The beverage was found safe in government tests of samples, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the national food quality center.
The drink was made by Coca-Cola’s subsidiary in Jilin, Xinhua said.
“Tests and reviews indicate our products are safe and within standards and reaffirm the incident is not related to the quality of our products,” Coca-Cola said. “We are 100 percent confident that our products are safe and in good quality.”
Minute Maid is one of Coca-Cola’s best-selling brands in China, according to researcher Euromonitor International.