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Source of tainted beer discovered

Labatt Breweries says it has uncovered the source behind July 12 reports of suspected tampering of imported Stella Artois bottles, one of which was served at a Thornhill bar on July 11.

The investigation launched by the brewery following the discovery of the tainted beer determined the bottles were not tampered with as originally feared. The bottles were filled with concentrated alcohol in place of lager and were meant for display, not drinking.

Officials at Labatt said the sale of these display bottles was entirely accidental and free of any malicious intent, a far cry from what the company was saying in July.

“Someone’s trying to dupe the consumer and cause harm by deliberately tampering with the package,” Neil Sweeney, the brewery’s vice president of corporate affairs, told Vaughan Today when the tainted bottles were first found. “It’s not an easy situation and we’re very disturbed by it.”

No injuries were reported in the Thornhill case, though those that had taken a swig from the affected bottles reportedly came up gagging and vomiting.

Sweeney said in a prepared statement last week that the matter was resolved quickly, thanks to the efforts of police, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, brewery workers and bar owners.

Every bottle of Stella Artois in bars and restaurants in the country was inspected to ensure the Belgian beer was indeed contained within, he added.

As a result of the Stella Artois tainted bottle scare, Labatt says it has implemented new procedures surrounding marketing displays to prevent this from happening again.

Vaughan Today
Friday, October 12, 2007
Page: 3
Byline: Philip Alves