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Red Bull Under Contamination Threat
PHOTO: Red Bull drink cans are displayed, July 18, 2008.

Image credit: Guillaume Baptiste/AFP/Getty Images

Red Bull, the energy drink and sports marketing company, announced that blackmailers have threatened to contaminate the product with feces and place them on supermarket shelves.

In a statement, the Vienna, Austria-based company said the threats started several weeks ago.

"Someone has been trying to blackmail Red Bull for weeks," Red Bull said in a statement, adding that it went public to diminish the blackmailers' influence. The company added that it was "cooperating closely" with police but did not offer further details.

According to AP, Marcus Neher of the Salzburg Public Prosecutor's office said that there had "only been a claim of contamination," and that so far there had been no signs of tampering.

Red Bull is not the only product that has wrestled with contamination, either real or threatened. Perhaps the most infamous was the 1982 Tylenol disaster, when capsules laced with cyanide killed seven people in Chicago.

In 2007, pet food products laced with the chemical melamine sickened or killed hundreds of animals across the US. Melamine, which is used to make plastics in the United States and as a fertilizer in Asia, contains nitrogen. Nitrogen can appear to boost the level of protein in products, ABC News reported.

Most recently, horsemeat was found in beef products in the UK and Europe, including burgers sold by Co-op stores, and burgers and spaghetti Bolognese sold by Britain's top supermarket chain, Tesco.

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