This week's In the News reports on Coca-Cola product contamination in Belgium. The biggest product recall in Coca-Cola's 113-year history occurred on June 8, 1999 when 40 school children were hospitalized for poison symptoms in Lochristi, Belgium. Coca-Cola brands such as Fanta, Sprite, Nestea, Kinley tonic, Lift, and juice drinks sold under the Minute Maid name were pulled from store shelves in five European nations following the incident, costing the soft-drink giant an estimated $60 million. The company publicly apologized on June 24, but European officials expressed outrage over CEO M. Douglas Ivester's slow response, company allegations of "psychosomatic reactions" among Belgians, poorly constructed press conferences, and other public relations lapses. Coca-Cola Co. attributes the contamination to manufacturing mistakes made in Dunkirk, France where shipping pallets became tainted by the toxic chemical phenol, a corrosive substance frequently used as an antiseptic and disinfectant. These eight resources provide news analysis and company information regarding this important consumer issue.
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