‘Revenge candy’ killed dozens in Pakistan

A Pakistani candy shop owner has confessed to fatally poisoning at least 30 people by lacing his goods with pesticide in an attempt to take revenge on his older brother, police told AFP Friday.

revenge.candyKhalid Mehmood confessed in a court in central Punjab province that he had poisoned the candy after his elder brother Tariq, who owned the candy shop with him, “insulted and abused” him in a business dispute.

“I wanted to teach him a lesson,” police investigator Mohammad Afzal quoted him as saying, with the statement confirmed by another senior police official.

“I was so angry that I mixed the pesticides bottle in the sweets being baked at that time.”

The poisoned batch of candy were bought by a local man who gave them to family and friends celebrating the birth of his grandson.

Possum pesticide: Blackmailers threaten to poison New Zealand infant milk formula

A blackmail threat to poison baby formula is a form of “eco-terrorism” says New Zealand’s prime minister John Key.

possum.baby.nov.11New Zealand police are currently investigating blackmail threats made against dairy processor Fonterra.

The threats were made as part of a campaign to stop the use of agricultural pesticide 1080 in New Zealand.

New Zealand police said that anonymous letters were received by Federated Farmers and Fonterra in November 2014, accompanied by small packages of milk powder, which subsequently tested positive for the presence of a concentrated form of 1080.

The letters threatened to contaminate infant and other formula with 1080 (sodium monoflouroacetate) unless New Zealand stopped using it for pest control by the end of March 2015.

“We have tested just over 40,000 raw milk and product samples and we have had no 1080 detections,” said a statement from the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries.

Asked how he would characterise the threat, Mr Key replied: “It’s a form of eco-terrorism without doubt.

Authorities warned parents to examine packaging for signs of tampering and supermarkets removed formula cans from shelves to storerooms so shoppers could not access them directly.

baby_formulaDeputy Commissioner of National Operations with NZ Police, Mike Clement, said the threat may be a hoax, but must be treated seriously.

He said no further letters had been received after the initial batch and the matter was being treated as blackmail rather than terrorism.

President of New Zealand’s peak farming body, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (FFNZ), William Rolleston, said he was confident security measures at the country’s milk processing plants were rigorous.

“I would say that it would probably be easier to break out of prison, than to break into one of these factories and do anything, the security is pretty tight.” Dr Rolleston said.

He said he believed his organisation was targeted by the anonymous letter writer due to their support for the use of 1080 to control possum populations.

“Unlike you guys in Australia who protect your possums, they are not a welcome visitor here I’m afraid.

“We do endorse the use of 1080, it’s a highly effective and safe product when used properly and it’s biodegradable, so it breaks down in the environment very quickly, it doesn’t have an impact on our native species, so it’s a very good toxin to use for dealing with what is a major issue for New Zealand.”

The New Zealand government has additional information at http://www.foodprotection.govt.nz/

Over 2800 sickened; Japan food safety badly shaken by in-company poisoning of food

With over 2,800 sick from deliberate poisoning with a pesticide at a Japanese frozen food manufacturers, the presidents of the firm did the only honorable thing: fall on their swords.

A 49-year-old contract worker at the plant where frozen food was laced with the agricultural chemical malathion has been arrested by the Gunma saturday-night-live-rye-by-the-sword1prefectural police on suspicion of obstructing business. The suspect worked at the Gunma plant of Aqli Foods Corp., a subsidiary of leading food maker Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc.

The man is suspected of lacing frozen food produced at the plant with malathion on four occasions in October. About 2,800 people across the country have complained of feeling ill after eating pizza and other frozen food produced at the plant.

The presidents of Maruha Nichiro Holdings and Aqli Foods have announced they will resign at the end of March to take responsibility for the latest incident.

The companies failed to respond promptly, taking 1½ months to launch a self-imposed recall of products after receiving a complaint in November of an odd odor from pizza manufactured at the plant. 

2800 sick; man arrested over Japan food poisoning

Japanese police have arrested a factory worker for allegedly poisoning frozen food with pesticides, in a case that sickened more than 2,800 people across the nation, news reports say.

Gunma Police Department arrested the 49-year-old man, identified as Toshiki Abe, who works at a frozen food factory in Gunma, north of Tokyo, run by a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro Holdings, Japan’s largest seafood firm, according to public broadcaster NHK and other local media.

The suspect denied the allegations, while the motive behind the alleged crime was still unknown, NHK reported.

Local police officials declined to comment.

The subsidiary, Aqlifoods, received the first of a series of complaints in November, with a customer saying its frozen pizza smelled like machine Aqlifoods.pizzaoil.

But the firm did not announce a product recall until December 29, after tests found traces of a chemical called malathion, which is used as a pesticide and to treat head lice.

300 sick from pesticide in frozen food in Japan

More than 300 people across Japan have fallen ill after eating frozen food products contaminated with pesticide.

Shoppers have reported vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms of food poisoning after eating food produced at a plant in Gunma, north of Tokyo, according to surveys carried Maruha Nichiroout by the Asahi Shimbun and other local media.

The plant, run by a subsidiary of the nation’s largest seafood firm Maruha Nichiro Holdings, is at the centre of the nation’s latest food poisoning scandal.

Japanese police have launched an investigation into the company after it revealed last month that some of its frozen food products were tainted with malathion, an agricultural chemical often used to kill aphid in corn and rice fields.

Poisoned dog’s vomit sends four to Colorado hospital with breathing problems

Norovirus can easily be aerosolized and sicken others when people barf.

Apparently the same applies to dog vomit.

The Daily News reports a dying dog’s vomit sent four people to the hospital in Colorado — an incident possibly triggered by a chemical used in rat poison.

The puke examined at the Vail Valley Animal Hospital in Friday’s poisoning likely contained zinc phosphate, commonly found in rat bait, the Eagle River Fire Protection District said.

“When the pesticide comes into contact with water, it forms a toxic gas,” said fire inspector Gail McFarland, according to the Vail Daily. “When the dog threw up, this released the gas as the pesticide had mixed with the contents in the dog’s stomach.”

The dog, which later died, had been brought to the Edwards-based clinic for treatment. Its owner wasn’t identified, and it was unclear where it came into contact with the chemical.

The fumes from the vomit caused three people to show signs of “respiratory distress,” while a fourth person was also taken to the hospital as a precaution. Their conditions weren’t immediately known Sunday.

Cases of veterinary workers getting poisoned by dogs that have ingested pesticides are not uncommon.

To protect themselves, animal experts say, workers should induce vomiting outdoors and stand upwind from the potential fumes.

A novel and nasty use for hot dogs—wildlife control

A man in Connecticut has been arrested on charges of using chemicals after police said hot dogs laced with the pesticide Furadan were strewn around
his crop fields in an attempt to kill raccoons.

Department of Environmental Protection Conservation Police said a woman walking her dogs along Great Meadow Road found a dead coyote near the Farmington River. EnCon officials said two of the woman’s dogs, a pit bull and Labrador retriever, gnawed at the animal’s carcass and became violently ill. The Labrador died and the woman contacted the Department of Environmental Pesticide Program for an investigation.
 

Kansas woman pleads guilty to poisoning salsa at Lenexa restaurant

The United States Department of Justice announced yesterday that Yini De La Torre, 19, Shawnee, Kan., pleaded guilty to putting poison in salsa served to patrons at Mi Ranchito restaurant in Lenexa, Kan.

She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to tamper with a consumer product. In her plea, she admitted that while working as a waitress at the Mi Ranchito restaurant in Lenexa she twice added Methomyl-based pesticide to salsa she prepared.

On Aug. 11, 2009, during the lunch rush, 12 diners at Mi Ranchito suffered nausea, abdominal cramps, weakness, sweating and chest discomfort after eating salsa. On Aug. 30, 2009, during dinner, approximately 36 patrons of Mi Ranchito suffered similar symptoms after eating salsa. Some of the customers were transported to the hospital. The poisoned patrons ranged from young children to senior citizens, some of whom suffered from medical conditions that were aggravated by the poison.

In her plea, De La Torre said her husband and co-defendant Arnoldo Bazan worked for a Mi Ranchito restaurant in Olathe until June 27, 2009. Bazan believed the owner of the Mi Ranchito chain was responsible for Bazan being suspended from employment and the theft of Bazan’s vehicle. Bazan hatched a plot with De La Torre to get even with the owner of the restaurant by poisoning the patrons of Mi Ranchito. During July 2009, the owner of the Mi Ranchito restaurant reported to the Overland Park Police Department that Bazan was stalking him. On Aug. 7, 2009, a message was sent to the restaurant’s Web site threatening harm if Bazan’s vehicle were not returned. On Aug. 28, 2009, before the second poisoning incident, Bazan sent word to the owner of the restaurant through a family member that “the worst is yet to come.”

While Lenexa police were investigating the poisoning, Bazan told Da La Torre not to speak with investigators or she would suffer physical harm. The Johnson County Health Department collected samples of food from the restaurant as well as blood and urine samples from the patrons who became ill. A Food and Drug Administration lab found Methomyl in the salsa. A laboratory at the University of California – Davis found Methomyl in the samples from the patrons.

Methomyl is a highly toxic compound introduced in 1966 as an insecticide for treatment of vegetable, fruit and field crops.

As a result of the poisoning incidents, all six Mi Ranchito restaurants suffered reduced income. The Mi Ranchito in Lenexa saw sales for September and October 2009 decline by approximately $250,000.

De La Torre is set for sentencing May 18, 2010. Bazan is awaiting trial.