German Police on Friday launched an international manhunt for an individual suspected of baby food poisoning in grocery stores in the Southern German city of Friedrichshafen.
Spokesperson for the state consumer protection ministry, Jens Purath, confirmed five bottles of baby food were found in supermarkets which were contaminated with ethylene glycol.
“The substance is traditionally used in anti-freeze agents and brake fluids and is potentially lethal in high doses.
“All bottles of the affected products were temporarily removed from shelves as a precaution,’’ he said.
The perpetrator has written a letter to the police and several large grocery chains threatening to poison 20 further food products in stores if his demand was not met.
He had demanded for a payment of millions of Euros.
Police urged the public to remain calm and urged anyone with knowledge of the identity and whereabouts of the “very unscrupulous” individual to come forward.
A surveillance image of the suspect, a roughly 50-year-old Caucasian man wearing a white hat and glasses, was released.
More than 650 people called in to a specially-created police hotline.
Although poisoned substances were only found in Friedrichshafen so far, a team of 220 investigators will carry out a cross-border manhunt around the area of Lake Constance.
The manhunt will also stretch to nearby Switzerland and Austria.
Consumers were told to remain vigilant when shopping and check products for signs of tampering.
“The police are concerned that the suspect could place more poisoned items in supermarkets over the weekend and had hence decided to make the case public,’’ the spokesperson noted.
Purath sought to reassure consumers by emphasising that an investigation was underway at “full speed”.
He expressed his confidence that all previously contaminated products had already been removed from stores.(Xinhua/NAN)