A Shanxi Coca-Cola factory has been ordered to cease production by the Provincial Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision, after a whistleblower reported chlorine contamination from maintenance work in early February. From The Wall Street Journal:
The food-safety regulator in Shanxi province said Saturday that during an April inspection it found that a batch of drinks produced by Coca-Cola (Shanxi) Beverage Ltd. was made with water containing chlorine. The statement, from the Shanxi Provincial Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision, refers to the suspension as a penalty for the chlorine levels.
The statement didn’t detail the findings and didn’t say when the plant will resume production.
A Coca-Cola spokeswoman said the Atlanta-based company found only trace levels of chlorine in a batch made between Feb. 4 and Feb. 8. The levels were just below the national standard of purified water in China of 0.005 milligrams per liter, the spokeswoman said, adding that the chlorine level was below World Health Organization limits for drinking water.
Xinhua, on the other hand, reported that the Shanxi subsidiary had admitted to and apologised for the contamination, and that other, unspecified problems had been found on the plant’s production lines. But the agency had previously declared that the official investigation had cleared Coca-Cola:
An investigation and analysis conducted on Tuesday by the Food Quality Safety Supervision Testing Institute of Shanxi Province and the Shanxi Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Technology Center found that the chlorine levels of the nine allegedly contaminated batches were found to be lower than that of purified drinking water, the Shanxi Provincial Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision said on Wednesday.
The products are therefore safe for consumption, the experts concluded.
See also ‘Truth, Rumour, Weibo & Coca-Cola‘, on how earlier reports of the contamination fit into the government’s ongoing anti-rumour campaign.