A man in southern Germany has deliberately slipped poison into baby food and other supermarket food items in an attempt to extort millions of euros.
The man contacted police by email to alert them to what he’d done and threatened to target other supermarkets in Germany and across Europe if his demands weren’t met.
He said that he’d poisoned the food with ethylene glycol, a colourless, odourless liquid used in the manufacture of antifreeze, which can be deadly if consumed. The threats appear to be real with police subsequently finding packages of baby food spiked with the chemical.
Footage of the man, who appears to be in his 50s, has been released by the authorities to help with identification.
“We are taking the threat very seriously,” Uwe Stuermer, deputy chief of police in the southern lakeside city of Konstanz, told a news conference on Thursday.
“There is no reason for panic or hysteria,” he added, while warning consumers to be on the look-out for packaging that had been tampered with when buying their groceries.
The authorities have confirmed that they’ll be performing additional checks on food items for sale but also stated that it may be difficult to identify contaminated items, especially as the blackmailer hasn’t specified which foods will be targeted or which poison will be used.