Germany on alert after blackmailer threatens to poison food

German police probe threat to poison baby food products

A German man is charged with threatening to disperse poisoned baby food throughout stores in Europe if the companies didn't fork over $11.8 million in blackmail money.

Police in Germany have arrested a man on suspicion of contaminating adult and baby food in the hope of gaining millions of euros from supermarkets.

In this September 28, 2017 photo Police Vice President Uwe Stuermer, second left, of the police department in Konstanz and Ministerial Council Petra Mock, left, speak at a news conference in Konstanz, Germany.

The food - which had been laced with ethylene glycol, a chemical found in anti-freeze and brake fluid - was found and removed. "[But] there is no reason for panic or hysteria".

Police, who seized the products from various shops in the city of southern city of Friedrichshafen - without publicizing it - on Thursday released CCTV images showing the main suspect holding a basket in a supermarket, and called on citizens to help so that he could be identified and arrested as soon as possible.

Police and US 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. Still, police told consumers to check the safety seals on products they buy and report suspected tampering to the authorities.

"The case is hard because the blackmailer did not say which food will be targeted or what poison he will use", a consumer protection official said.

Police were looking for a suspect who could be seen in security video footage from one of the supermarkets in a town near Konstanz and appeared to be a man aged about 50.

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