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Coca-Cola Launches Poland Recall

June 30, 1999

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Coca-Cola launched its second major recall of its products in Europe in recent weeks, pulling hundreds of thousands of glass bottles of carbonated mineral water off the shelves in Poland after mold was found in some bottles.

Tuesday’s recall came only weeks after some of the soft drink giant’s line was ordered off shelves in Belgium, when some 200 people became sick after drinking Coke products.

Marcin Barcz, Coca-Cola’s deputy director for Poland, said health inspectors detected the mold in 1,500 glass bottles of Bonaqua brand carbonated water. He said tests showed the glass bottles were the source of the mold, which was first detected by a consumer in Gdansk.

All of the 0.3-liter glass bottles _ about five ounces _ of Bonaqua carbonated mineral water distributed in Poland would be replaced by plastic containers, Barcz said, without specifying how many bottles would be pulled off the shelves.

Polish state television reported that another 246,000 bottles awaiting distribution at a bottling plant in southwest Poland would be held back.

Barcz described the mold as ``not dangerous for the health,″ but state health inspectors said it could cause digestive problems.

Last week, Coca-Cola said about 14 million cases, each containing 24 eight-ounce servings, were affected by the product recall in Belgium. Coke products were allowed back into stores last week.

The exact cause of the sickness is still not known. But the company acknowledged that its plant in Antwerp, Belgium, used substandard carbon dioxide to put bubbles into bottled drinks and that a fungicide on wooden pallets at the Dunkirk, France, plant may have caused a foul smell on some cans.

In Brussels, the Belgian Health Ministry said today that the wave of illnesses among school children who drank Coke may have been partly psychological, with some students imagining they were ill after other children developed symptoms of nausea and dizziness.

A report by the ministry found that, in four of the five schools where children said they fell ill after drinking Coke, only half had actually consumed the beverage before developing the symptoms.

The report’s conclusions were based on examinations by ministry medical experts of 112 students who fell ill in five schools.

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