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FIRST SUSPECT ARRESTED IN PEPSI-COLA PRODUCT TAMPERING INCIDENT

 TROY, Mich., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Pepsi-Cola Company issued the following release today:
 In Michigan, as in several other parts of the country in the past 48 hours, there have been several reports of consumers allegedly finding foreign objects in Pepsi-Cola products. We at Pepsi-Cola are cooperating fully with the FDA and FBI in their complete investigation of each individual claim; but details may not be discussed at this time given the criminal nature of these investigations. In spite of numerous allegations, however, we can say that Pepsi and the FDA have yet to confirm a single report of any needles or syringes in an "unopened container." The facts are that there's nothing to indicate any production issues in Michigan or any other part of the U.S. In addition, there are several other important things to be aware of.
 A man in Central Pennsylvania was arrested yesterday on charges that he fraudulently reported finding a syringe in a can of Pepsi, the FDA announced last night.
 The arrest was the first in the wake of news stories of complaints in which consumers have allegedly found syringes or needles in Pepsi- Cola and competitors' products packaging. We expect more arrests to be announced shortly.
 "This development reinforces what we've believed all along -- that this is not a manufacturing problem and that consumers should not be alarmed about any alleged problem with Pepsi products," said Craig Weatherup, president and chief executive officer, Pepsi-Cola, North America. "While we take each and every claim very seriously, we believe consumers will use reasonable judgment and deal with facts. The facts are that there's nothing to indicate any production issues."
 The spate of complaints about syringes or parts of needles found in Pepsi cans have defied physical evidence and intellectual logic, Weatherup said this morning in appearances on ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "Today" and "CBS Morning News."
 There has been absolutely no pattern to the alleged incidents in terms of can sourcing, production dates, or can codes, he noted. "Our bottlers manufacture more than 20 million cans a day. Each one has a code. Within a 48-hour period, to have needles allegedly show up in cans that were produced in some cases six months apart, in others six weeks apart, and in even others six days apart, defies intellectual logic and physical probability."
 Of all consumer products packaging, cans are perhaps the most difficult to tamper with, Weatherup continued. During the high-speed canning process, it is extremely unlikely for any foreign substance to be introduced into a can. In the process, empty cans are inverted upside down, cleaned by air or water, and then inverted immediately before they're filled and closed. On the filling line, the cans are open and vulnerable for only .9 second. A satellite feed of an actual Pepsi production can line will be made available today from 2:30-3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time for those who want to see our high-speed lines in action or use it on your newscasts. It may be accessed using the following: C Band, Galaxy 6, Transponder 17, Audio 6.2 and 6.8. From 3-3:30 p.m. EDT, the same information will be available on Transponder 11.
 Pepsi and FDA's Offices of Criminal Investigation are conducting meticulous investigations of each and every complaint. In areas where Pepsi has received complaints, all production and employee records have been thoroughly checked. No abnormalities have been found.
 While the FDA has announced there is no health risk to consumers, they've issued an advisory for concerned consumers to visually inspect the cans before drinking.
 This is the second product tampering incident sustained by Pepsi- Cola Company this year. The first occurred in Oklahoma City in March 1993. The consumer, Bobby Jo Johnston, was recently convicted in a jury trial of tampering with a can of Pepsi-Cola. He is in prison and awaits sentencing, which carries a maximum of five years and a $250,000 fine.
 "Product tampering -- or falsely reporting a product contamination -- is a serious federal offense, and the FDA has indicated they will prosecute any and all false reports to the full extent of the law," Weatherup said.
 Historically, product tampering complaints beget more similar alleged reports. Appearing with Mr. Weatherup on ABC's "Nightline" last evening, Food and Drug Administration Chief Dr. David Kessler noted that in 1984, a single case concerning Girl Scout Cookies generated 487 complaints. None were verified.
 -0- 6/16/93
 /CONTACT: Andrew Giangola, 914-767-7495, or Ann Ward, 914-767-7067, both of Pepsi-Cola/
 (PEP)


CO: Pepsi-Cola Company ST: Michigan IN: FOD SU:

SB-JG -- DE016 -- 2709 06/16/93 15:28 EDT
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Date:Jun 16, 1993
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