Cans Contained Dirt And Insects
A licensed Pepsi Cola manufacturer in Cambodia has produced and distributed an unknown number of tainted Pepsi products in local markets, according to consumers and a factory spokesman.
And a local news report on the products, allegedly contaminated with dirt and bugs, caught the attention of food quality control authorities who plan to send investigators to the beverage company’s Sihanoukville factory early next week, officials of the ministries of Commerce and Industry said Friday.
“Even though we haven’t received any direct complaints from consumers, we see this incident very serious,” said Khlauk Chuon, deputy director of Camcontrol, the Commerce Ministry’s operational arm.
He and other officials confirmed a joint-investigation team from the two ministries will visit the factory of the Angkor Beverage Co, a joint-venture between Pepsi Cola and Angkor Beer maker Cambrew Co.
An Angkor Beverage Co spokesman, who asked not to be named, downplayed the incident Friday, saying that the tainted products would not harm people who drink them.
“This is a very unfortunate incident for us…But there is no health risk,” said the spokesman, saying the factory has implemented a strict quality control system imposed by Pepsi Cola New York. But he acknowledged that a human error in the factory’s assembly line resulted in some contaminated products.
“We have found problems at our factory. Some Cambodian employees didn’t pay enough attention,” said the spokesman from the company’s Phnom Penh office. “But we have taken all the necessary measures to control quality of products.”
He noted that this is the first incident at the company, which has manufactured Pepsi products in Cambodia since 1993. The company has already recalled all of its potentially tainted products from the markets.
Officials said that the manufacturer could face legal action if they find the factory intentionally produced and/or sold harmful foods for consumption. According to the new food quality control law, which was passed by the National Assembly and Senate in June, a manufacturer could face up to one year in imprisonment or 5-10 million riels ($1,300-$2,600) in fines if convicted under the law.
According to one of the consumers who blamed Pepsi Cola for causing her severe diarrhea, the beverage she and her family members drank this week contained many bugs inside the bottles.
“It’s really scary,” she recalled the experiences. “All my family including my children have got diarrhea after drinking Pepsi.”
She said more than 50 bottles with bugs were recently distributed by the Pepsi manufacturer to her husband’s automobile repair shop. Her family started having diarrhea immediately after they drank those bottles, she said.