Appletiser products have been recalled in South Africa – but Coca-Cola won’t say exactly why

Business Insider SA
Appletiser recall South Africa
(Image: Coca-Cola South Africa)
  • Six batches of Appletiser products are being recalled from retailers in South Africa.
  • Coca-Cola South Africa, which manufactures Appletiser, says routine quality testing revealed that the products were "outside of the acceptable standards".
  • The manufacturer has refused to comment on the cause of the recall or how many individual products need to be removed from fridges and shelves.
  • But Appletiser products in Australia are also being withdrawn.
  • This is due to elevated levels of patulin which "may cause illness", according to the New South Wales Food Authority, adding that these drinks originated from South Africa.
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Batches of Appletiser are being withdrawn from the shelves and fridges of South African retailers following a nationwide recall issued by Coca-Cola on Thursday. Quality testing revealed that the drinks were "outside of the acceptable standards" according to the manufacturer.

Six batches of Appletiser products have been voluntarily recalled by Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa and Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages. Batches with Best Before (BB) dates 07NOV21, BB 30MAY22, BB 10JUN22, BB 18MAY22, BB 19MAY22, and BB 23MAY22 are all impacted by the recall.

These numbers can be found on the top or bottom of the bottles, cans, and packaging. Retailers who've bought these affected batches have been urged to contact the call centre for the collection and exchange of the product.

"Following a standard quality testing routine, six specific batches of Appletiser were revealed to be outside of the acceptable standards," Coca-Cola South Africa said in a statement on Thursday 23 September.

"The health and wellbeing of our consumers is our primary concern and we have taken a decision to withdraw all affected stock from the market nationwide, with immediate effect. With our partners, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa and Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages, we are working with authorities to ensure all processes are followed as we continue our investigation to understand the cause of the problem."

Coca-Cola South Africa has yet to reveal the exact reason for the recall and whether the withdrawal of products is the result of a packaging defect or contamination at the point of production.

But more than 10,000km away from South Africa across the Indian Ocean, a similar recall of Appletiser products has been instituted at the exact same time by Coca-Cola Amatil in Australia.

This recall, affecting 750ml bottles of Appletiser, has been confirmed by the New South Wales (NSW) Food Authority with more details about the cause of the recall.

"The recall is due to quality testing revealing higher than acceptable levels of patulin. Products containing elevated levels of mycotoxin (patulin) may cause illness," the NSW Food Authority said on Friday.

"Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice and should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund."

The NSW Food Authority notes that the affected Appletiser products which have been recalled from several major retailers originated from South Africa.

But Coca-Cola South Africa has refused to confirm whether the locally recalled batches contain elevated levels of patulin or what exact discovery prompted the recall. The manufacturer has also refused to comment on the number of individual products affected by the recall when questioned by Business Insider South Africa.

"We can't confirm numbers as yet as we are still investigating. For now, the attached [statement issued on 23 September] is our official statement on the matter," Lindiwe Zikalala, Coca-Cola South Africa's public affairs and communications representative, told Business Insider SA via email correspondence on Monday.

Patulin is produced by a variety of moulds and is most commonly found in rotting apples. Consumption of patulin may cause nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, and vomiting according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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