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Baby Food Found Spiked With Glass Shards, Razor Blades, Tacks

April 26, 1989

LONDON (AP) _ Police are investigating at least 28 incidents in which baby food bought at grocery stores contained glass shards, pieces of razor blades, thumbtacks and caustic soda. Eleven cases were reported today.

The government said blackmail attempts had been made. The tampering, which apparently began this month, has resulted in at least two minor injuries.

Scotland Yard said it was coordinating a nationwide police inquiry, but it refused to give details.

The Daily Mail, a tabloid, reported blackmailers apparently were trying to extort money from supermarkets and food companies. It said several major supermarket chains and food manufacturers had received threats.

Home Office Minister John Patten told Parliament today that ″in some cases there have been blackmail demands. It would not be helpful for police investigations if I were to go into any greater detail.″

Deploring what he called a ″vicious attack on defenseless babies″ by ″twisted minds,″ Patten said Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s administration ″is determined to resist all attempts at consumer terrorism in this country.″

The government said 28 cases had been reported since April 7, including 11 today.

Manufacturers say their investigations have determined that products are not being spiked during production and distribution.

One manufacturer, Heinz Co. Ltd, warned parents to be vigilant when feeding their children canned and bottled food.

Heinz said it shared parents’ ″sense of outrage that a tamperer is prepared to target a victim as precious and vulnerable as a baby.″

Heinz said stocks were removed from shelves and replaced in all incidents where tampered products were found. But a supermarket in the northwest England city of Blackpool removed all Heinz products after a jar of baby food was found to contain slivers of glass.

Spiked jars have been found in London, in the central cities of Bedford and Leicester, and across southern England, news reports said.

In three incidents reported Tuesday, pieces of glass were found in baby food bought in Bradford-on-Avon in southwest England, in the south coast resort of Fratton, and in Newport on the Isle of Wight off the south coast.

In the incident at Bradford-on-Avon, Diana Tyndall said she cut her lip on a piece of glass as she tasted a jar of fruit desert she was about to feed to her 6-month-old daughter.

No one else was reported hurt in Tuesday’s incidents. But in another incident earlier in the month, a 9-month-old girl in Oxford cut her mouth on a razor blade in a pot of yogurt.

Other incidents were reported at Rayleigh, east of London; at the southern port of Southampton, where two incidents were reported; and at the south coast resort of Worthing.

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