Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Unilever and Delta in acid contamination scare

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

This picture allegedly shows the group contaminating products
This picture allegedly shows the group contaminating products

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Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Unilever and Delta have withdrawn products in a region of Greece after a group threatened to contaminate them with chlorine and hydrochloric acid.

Unilever’s Hellmann’s Caesar Salad Dressing (235ml) and Pummaro Passata “more concentrated” and “classic” (Tetra Pak 520g and 500g respectively) are affected.

Nestlé’s Nestea Ice Tea Peach (500ml and 4Χ500 plastic bottle) and Nestea Ice Tea Lemon (500ml and 4Χ500 bottle) and Coca-Cola Light (500ml and 4Χ500 bottle) are involved.

Delta fresh milk 3.5% fat 1L cartons (blue colour) have also been targeted.

Behind the threat

The products have been removed from all retail outlets in Attica. 

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Recalled products

Action came after a post on a website from a group claiming they had contaminated them with chlorine and hydrochloric acid.

The group said tainted products will be put back on retail shelves throughout Attica from 22 December to 5 January as part of ‘Green Nemesis - Act 2’.  

The motive was to sabotage the companies financially through the withdrawal of products for two weeks and not to cause harm to consumers, it added.

EFET (Hellenic Food Authority) said it was assisting the Greek Police after being informed of the threatened food contamination and it was being taken seriously.

The agency urged consumers in Attica not to consume any batches of the affected products and the companies had begun removal from the market.

Greek police said they had informed EFET and companies mentioned in the text and the investigation had been assigned to the anti-terrorism agency.

Joint statement and Delta comment

Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Unilever said they were in contact with authorities as the safety of consumers was a ‘foremost and non-negotiable priority’.

We will continue to update our consumers and all involved parties with new announcements, following communication with the relevant authorities,” ​the firms said in a joint statement.

“We kindly ask for the understanding of our consumers and customers, who have placed their trust in us for so many years, in the case of any inconvenience created​.

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Unilever and Delta products

While we cannot provide any further comment at this time, we would like to confirm that we are closely cooperating with the authorities and taking actions in accordance with their guidance to protect the safety of our consumers, who are our number one and unconditional priority.”

The firms told us they were not in position to provide further details and were in contact with authorities for guidance on any next steps needed.

In a separate statement​, Delta, a member of the Vivartia Group, also said it had temporarily withdrawn affected products and was in contact with authorities. 

The firm said the action affects farmers, the distribution network, retail outlets and suppliers.

"This action afflicts a Greek company, which employs more than 1,200 employees, collaborates daily with 1,400 Greek cattle farmers and for over 60 years, has supported the Greek family, economy and the rural areas.

"Beside the damage that occurs to the company, this action turns against both the dairy farmers and the collaborating parties (distribution network, retail outlets, and suppliers) and eventually turns directly against Greek society itself."  ​ 

Coca-Cola and Nestea were the subject of a similar threat in 2013​.

On that occasion 63 bottles of Coca-Cola light and 42 bottles of Nestea were put back in supermarkets for 10 days, according to the same group.

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