A 33-year-old man has died after drinking a pear fruit drink in Southampton.Joromie Lewis, of Kings Road, Gosport, became ill immediately after drinking the liquid and died within hours at Southampton General Hospital on 5th December 2013.
Hampshire Constabulary’s Major Investigation Team is investigating. Enquiries so far suggest Mr Lewis swallowed a small amount of liquid in the belief he was drinking a genuine pear drink. A post-mortem examination was carried out on 7th December 2013. The results are inconclusive and further enquiries are being carried out. On 11th December 2013, police received laboratory test results which showed that the liquid in the juice bottle contained a lethal amount of cocaine. Police now have established that the bottle of Cole Cold Pear D fruit drink was manufactured in the Caribbean and the company did not export this drink to the UK.
Police and the Food Standards Agency are now warning the public not to drink juice from bottles like the one in the picture above.
– Detective Superintendent Richard Pearson, Hampshire Police
We are working closely with partner agencies, including Southampton’s Regulatory Services, Public Health England, the Food Standards Agency and other law enforcement agencies, including the National Crime Agency, to minimise any risk to the public and to investigate the circumstances leading to the tragic death of Mr Lewis. We are supporting his family and linking closely with public health departments. We have taken clear advice from partner agencies and, in light of the analysis of the contents of the bottle, a decision was made to issue the public alert by the Food Standards Agency. Enquiries to date have not identified any further incidents or similar bottles. The investigation suggests that this was likely to be a rogue bottle from a consignment of drugs stored in plastic juice bottles. If anyone finds a bottle of Pear D juice like the picture, do not open the bottle. If sealed the bottle is perfectly safe. Take the bottle to the nearest police station, and we will examine the contents if appropriate."
The Food Standards Agency today issued an alert to all local authorities to contact retailers to withdraw Pear-D if it is found. Anyone who finds they have a bottle of Pear-D should bring it to their local police station and are advised to contact the Food Standards Agency on 020 7276 8448. Further advice around the risk can be found on their web site. [http://www.food.gov.uk/