Beverage giant ordered to pay 2.05 yuan to customer over canned bug
The Beijing Coca-Cola Beverage Company has been ruled to pay 2.05 yuan in compensation to a customer who found an insect in a bottle of Sprite.
The ruling came Wednesday in a trial at Daxing district court.
A man surnamed Gao, who bought a box of soft drinks containing 24 bottles of Sprite on June 23, 2007 from a supermarket in Beijing, found a three cm long cockroach-like insect inside one bottle of the popular drink.
Gao took the company to Daxing court in 2008, asking for 5.1 yuan. The amount included 2.05 yuan for the bottle, 2.05 yuan as a penalty, and 1 yuan in psychological damage. He additionally requested an official apology from Coca Cola.
"I don't want money. It's a lawsuit concerning public interests," Gao told the Beijing News, adding that all his family members have given up the famous brand's products because they are "disgusting".
During the trial on Wednesday, the Beijing Coca-Cola Beverage Company admitted that the questionable Sprite resembled a genuine product. The court agreed it was a genuine product that hadn't been tampered with.
"Beijing Coca-Cola Beverage Company, as an influential drink producer, should improve its supervision of food safety. All of its products should meet the quality standard and avoid endangering their customers' health," a press release from Daxing court said.
The court ruled the company must pay 2.05 yuan but refused to support Gao's other requests. Gao said he was unsatisfied with the result and has lodged an appeal.
This case comes as yet another publicity problem for Sprite. Two people, who allegedly suffered mercury poisoning after drinking the fizzy drink, are now waiting for the results of their investigations.
Police took the can of Sprite involved in the first case of mercury poisoning to Tianjin yesterday to determine whether the metal was added after production.
Beijing Coca-Cola Beverage Company offered 20,000 yuan for each of the victims based on "humanitarian spirit".
"We can't comment right now since the insect case will go to the higher court and the mercury case is under investigation. We're waiting for the result," said Chen Yi, a public relations manager from the company.
(China Daily 02/05/2010 page26)