Coke drink tested safe following consumer death

Updated: 2011-12-06 10:32


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BEIJING - No toxic pesticide has been found in the Coca-Cola-branded milk drink that was suspected in the death of a child in Northeast China, said a report by the state food quality watchdog on Monday.

The China National Center for Food Quality Supervision and Testing released the report, saying the test showed no existence of Methomyl or thiodicarb, two toxic pesticides, on the samples of the same batch of the strawberry-flavored milk drinks taken by the victim.

The drinks are produced by Coca-Cola's subsidiary in Jilin province.

"The test results show our products are safe and qualified, and the (poisoning) incident has nothing to do with the quality of the products," said Coca-Cola (Jilin) in a statement Monday following the release of the test report.

The company carried out examinations within its plant and storehouses after the incident. It also promised to continue cooperating with local police for further investigation.

"We have 100 percent confidence that our products are absolutely safe and reliable," said the statement.

A boy died and his mother was poisoned in Changchun, the provincial capital of Jilin, after having the milk drink on November 28. The mother remains hospitalized but in stable condition.

A police investigation found that two others were hospitalized after drinking the same beverage.

Police later said toxic pesticide was found in the bottles of the beverage that were partially consumed by the victims. The milk drinks were recalled across the province.

It's not the first time that the US beverage giant has been involved in quality scandals in China. In Beijing, there were two cases reported in 2009 and 2010, respectively, in which a man and a teenager were suspected of being poisoned by mercury-tainted Sprite drinks.

Investigations later revealed the two cases were the result of intentional poisoning -- not a quality issue of Coca-Cola.