KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Police and U.S. military officials in Germany are warning consumers who buy food or medicine on the local economy to look out for tampered products after jars of baby food in southern Germany were found to be poisoned.
Authorities believe the baby food was tainted by the same person who threatened last week to poison food in supermarkets and drug stores in Germany and abroad if his demands for money weren’t met, according to German news reports.
The person made the threat in a letter sent on Saturday to police and large grocery store chains such as Aldi, Lidl, Edeka and Rewe.
Five jars of baby food were found to contain potentially fatal amounts of ethylene glycol, a substance used in antifreeze products and brake fluids, The Local, an English-language news website in Germany, reported Thursday. Employees found the tainted jars at several unnamed grocery stores in the city of Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance last week, said police from the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
A manhunt has been launched in Germany and in neighboring countries for the suspect, believed to be a white male about 50 years old, who was seen on surveillance camera wearing glasses and a white hat.
Police in the meantime are urging consumers to look for damage to product packaging and seals on glass jars and bottles. Shoppers should notify store employees of any suspicious items. If a tampered item has been purchased, it should be returned to the store or any German police station, German police advised.
The nearest U.S. military base to Friedrichshafen is about 100 miles away, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Military officials throughout Germany, including Wiesbaden and Kaiserslautern, used social media to warn personnel and families this week to be on the lookout for suspicious items when shopping off base.