Coca Cola HBC withdraws some drinks in Croatia while illnesses investigated

ZAGREB (Reuters) – Croatia’s state inspection office on Wednesday ordered the local arm of bottling company Coca Cola HBC to withdraw batches of two soft drinks from sale while investigations are carried out into cases of illness suspected to have been caused by the drinks.

Coca Cola HBC Croatia, part of the bottling company that distributes Coca-Cola products, said in a statement published by local media that its internal analysis had not found any irregularities in the products but that it was withdrawing the batches until the official investigation had concluded.

It did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

At the weekend, a young man in the Adriatic town of Rijeka suffered throat injuries after consuming a flavoured Coca-Cola mineral drink in a cafe, according to local media reports.

The individual is being treated in hospital, but six more suspected cases have emerged in the capital Zagreb and the town of Varazdin, Health Minister Vili Beros said on Wednesday.

He added those individuals had been examined in hospital and most of them had now been released.

Beros said a direct connection between the cases had not been established, and that an analysis of samples from the suspected drinks was expected to be completed later in the day.

Coca Cola HBC Croatia’s statement said it had temporarily withdrawn one batch of Coca-Cola Original Taste 500ml and two limited batches of Romerquelle Emotion Blueberry Pomegranate 330ml.

(Reporting by Antonio Bronic and Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Mark Potter)