NORTHERN IRELAND (GUARDIAN) - Coca-Cola has called in police to investigate how human waste turned up in a consignment of its drink cans at one of the company's factories in Northern Ireland.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed on Tuesday (March 28) it had opened an inquiry into how faeces ended up in the cans at the Helllenic Bottling Company factory in Lisburn, Co Antrim.
Coca-Cola suspended night-time processing last week at the plant when machines became clogged.
The soft drinks giant said it impounded all the affected cans and that the contamination did not affect any products that were on sale. The cans arrive at the factory without tops, to be filled with the fizzy drink before they are sealed and sold across Northern Ireland.
A PSNI spokesman said: "Detectives are investigating an incident at commercial premises in the Lisburn area following reports that a consignment of containers delivered to the premises had been contaminated. The investigation is at an early stage and there are no further details available at this time."
In a statement, the company told the Belfast Telegraph: "Coca-Cola takes the safety and quality of our products extremely seriously.
"We are aware of an incident involving empty cans at our plant in Knockmore Hill, Lisburn. We are treating this matter extremely seriously and are conducting a thorough investigation in co-operation with the PSNI.
"The problem was identified immediately through our robust quality procedures and all of the product from the affected production was immediately impounded and will not be sold. This is an isolated incident and does not affect any products currently on sale."
The Food Standards Agency said none of the cans contaminated with faeces had reached the market in Northern Ireland. It added: "The incident is subject to an investigation by the PSNI and the environmental health unit of Lisburn and Castlereagh city council."