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Uproar as public finds pills in pastry.

Some over-the-counter medications have been found stuffed into bakery goods sold in different cities across southern Iran.

Kianoush Jahanpour, spokesman for the Food and Drug Organization, said December 14 the medications were found in the products of up to 12 different Iranian brands of sweets. He said the medicines had undergone no changes in composition, indicating they had been inserted after the products had been baked. And they have turned up in four different provinces across southern Iran, indicating it was not some localized act.

He said the acts of "sabotage" suggested Iran's food industry was targeted in a bid to spread "terror."

He said the medications added to the products had been consumed by a "limited number" of people. He gave no numbers, but said no deaths had been reported.

He said, "Most of the examined drugs have been household drugs such as acetaminophen, brufen, cetirizine, hydroxyzine, metoclopramide and even empty blister packs." The state news agency said a university lab in Hormuzgan province discovered 30 different types of drugs in the examples it examined.

More than a month has passed since initial media reports alleged drugs had been placed in confectionery products such as cakes, biscuits and muffins.

The photos used in the media showed whole pills that had been pushed into the baked goods, not crushed and mixed into the ingredients. That would make them much more obvious to anyone eating the products, since they did not have the consistency of the baked goods, except those that contained nuts.

Sabotaged products have so far been confirmed to have been found in the provinces of Kerman, Hormozgan and Sistan va Baluchestan in the southeast and Ilam province, which borders Iraq in the west.

Mohammad-Hossain Azizi, who is in charge of the Health Ministry's oversight of food products, said the total number of instances has been "very low." He said the act of "sabotage" could have been perpetrated by elements "within or outside the country."

"Observations show that this has been a purposeful attempt to disturb public opinion and the police and security forces are following up on the matter," Azizi said, thus putting the most frightening interpretation on the incidents, although none of the medications found in the baked goods was poisonous.

Caption: UPROAR--This is one of the photos released showing pills pushed into pastries, not baked into them.

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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Dec 20, 2019
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