Croatia recalls some Coca-Cola products over intoxication scare

The headquarters of Coca-Cola Croatia which has been ordered to withdraw some drinks over a food poisoning scare

Croatian authorities on Wednesday ordered Coca-Cola to withdraw some drinks after food poisoning cases were reported in three cities.

The government’s State Inspectorate said samples of the beverage giant’s mineral water and Coca-Cola drink were being analyzed by the public health institute.

The inspectorate said in a statement that “health inspectors had temporarily stopped” Coca-Cola Croatia from distributing suspect products and ordered a recall.

It did not say how many products were affected but the company said it had “temporarily” withdrawn Coca-Cola and two types of fizzy water.

In a statement reported by the official HINA news agency, the company said it had followed the official order even though its “internal analysis has not shown irregularities in the production of the products.”

A 19-year-old youth was hospitalized in the western town of Rijeka on Saturday and other food poisoning cases have been reported in Zagreb and Varazdin, according to Health Minister Vili Beros.

The minister said the youth had suffered “serious injuries” to his digestion but was in a stable condition.

Eight other people are in hospital, mainly in Zagreb, with “relatively light” symptoms and will soon be allowed to go home, the minister added.

Beros said a “direct link” to a suspect drink had only been shown in two cases so far.

The minister slammed the spread of social media “lies” claiming there were several others cases. He said this aimed to spread “panic”.

Croatia’s biggest food distribution company, Fortenova, said however that it had recalled “all non-alcoholic drinks from the Coca-Cola producer” as a “preventive” measure.

It said it would wait for “official information on the safety of the products”.

The national restaurants association said it had “advised” members to withdraw “potentially risky products”.

© 2023 AFP

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