Shanxi Coca-Cola plant suspended following chlorine incident
Authorities in northern China have ordered a Coca-Cola bottling plant shut after finding its products were contaminated by chlorine, according to a government statement.
Shanxi province ordered an investigation after media reports that a batch of drinks contained water with higher levels of chlorine, the province's quality bureau said at the weekend.
The contamination occurred in February when water with small amounts of chlorine accidentally flowed into water used for drinks during maintenance work, according to Xinhua. An anonymous company whistle-blower told local media that nine batches of products were contaminated, it said.
Xinhua quoted the Shanxi plant as saying that its products were safe and did not present a threat to human health. Chlorine is used in water treatment to kill bacteria, but high levels can be hazardous to human health.
China has experienced several scares over food safety in recent years, many blamed on lax supervision or producers deliberately cutting corners and deceiving consumers in search of profits.
China is one of Coca-Cola's most important growth markets, accounting for around seven percent of its global volume last year, according to the US company.