Truly Horrifying Cases of Product Tampering

Truly Horrifying Cases of Product Tampering


Have you ever wondered why so many food products
have tamper seals on them? Until the 1980s, these seals were not a commonplace
sight, but a number of high profile product tampering cases forced companies to make their
packaging tamperproof in order to restore customer trust. In this video, I am going to
look at some of the most disturbing cases of product tampering ever recorded. Ill start with a case known as “The Vending
Machine Killings”. In 1985, in Japan, 12 people were killed and at least
35 hospitalized after drinking poisoned soft drinks. An unidentified assailant was leaving bottles
inside the dispensing hatch of vending machines. When somebody bought something from the machine, they would find and extra bottle inside the hatch. Assuming they had got lucky and the machine
had dispensed an extra item by mistake, they would happily take the extra items and drink
it. Unbeknownst to them, the extra drink had been
laced with Paraquat, a deadly herbicide. Paraquat can cause a very slow and painful
death. A dose of around 2 teaspoons is enough to
be lethal. Within a few hours of consuming it, people
begin to feel very sick. the internal organs begin to
shut down. First the liver and kidneys fail, finally
the heart and lungs. It can take up to 30 agonizing days for someone to die
of Paraquat poisoning. The vending machine killer was able to get
away with their crimes because Paraquat was a common method of suicide at the time. After the police finally figured out what
was happening, vending machines were labelled with warning signs and the
killings seemed to stop. This wasnt the first time Japanese vending
machine drinks poisoned. In 1977, at least 4 people died after drinking
Coca Cola that had been laced with cyanide. In Tokyo some years after the paraquat poisoning,
vending machine drinks were found to have been laced with lime sulphur. The motives behind these poisonings remain unclear. Most product tampering cases seem to be done
for revenge or blackmail, but the vending machine killer appears to have done it just
for the thrill. In all of these vending machine poison cases, nobody was
ever caught, and they still remain at large today. There was another high profile product tampering
case in Japan. In 1984, a terrorist group known as “The Monster
with 21 Faces” placed boxes of candy filled with cyanide on store shelves. 21 packets of poisoned candy were found. They had all been labelled with a warning
sticker which read “Danger: Contains Toxins” In this case, the aim was not to kill indiscriminately, but to cause panic among consumers and to extort money from the companies which produced the candy. As with the vending machine poisoners, nobody
involved was ever caught, and the case remains unsolved to this day. This case comes from England. Rodney Whitchelo was a former Scotland Yard
detective who thought he could get away with the perfect crime. In the 1980s he began a blackmail campaign
against the Pedigree Dog Food company. He injected cans of dog food with poison and
placed them on shelves in stores around England. He sent one of the contaminated tins to the
company director, demanding £500,000 or he would continue to poison their products. When his demands were not met, he decided
he needed a more serious target, and started to contaminate jars of baby food. In 1989, he attempted to blackmail the Heinz
company for 1 million pounds. He mixed broken glass, razor blades and caustic soda into jars of baby food and placed them on supermarket shelves. This causes a major panic nationwide as worried
parents rushed their children to hospital, suspecting them of having eaten contaminated
baby food. Luckily, a lot of these cases turned out to be parents being overcautious, or people falsely trying to compensation money, but a number of these cases actually were genuine. One boy was was hospitalized after
swallowing chunks of broken glass from a jar of strawberry yoghurt. Only two jars of contaminated baby food were
actually recovered from supermarket shelves , but it was enough for Heinz to recall over 30 million
pounds of stock. Rodney Whitchelo used his police training
to get away with his crimes, but was eventually caught as he attempted to withdraw money from
a cash machine. He was sentenced to 17 years in jail, but he
is now back on the streets. Luckily these day, jars of baby food are tamper proof. I remember hearing about this case back in
the early 90s and it was also said that he put caustic soda into bottles of washing
up liquid so that people would suffer horrible burns when they tried wash the dishes. I cant
find any reference to this today. So maybe it was just something made up by the tabloids at the time Im not too sure. In 2003, an alarming number of poisonings
occured across Italy. Victims were rushed to hospital suffering
from severe internal burns to the stomach and esophagus. They had all drank the same product, a bottle of water. At least 20 cases were reported in different
places across the country. Police found that someone has injected bleach,
acetone or ammonia into the bottles through the top of cap. The pinprick hole was too small to be noticed
by most people, and the toxic substance was invisible once it was mixed with the water. The sheer amount of poisonings, and the large
distances between each one led police to believe this was the work of an organised
gang. So far, nobody has been caught and the motive
for these crimes has not been discovered. In 1984, a consumer panic swept the United
States when boxes of Girl Scout Cookies were found to have been contaminated with needles
and other sharp metal objects. Reports came in from 15 different states across the country. People would buy seemingly unopened boxes
of cookies, only to find a nasty surprise when they bit into them. A 9 year old boy was rushed to hospital after
a needle went into his gum after eating One of the cookies One mother broke a cookie in half to share
with her son and found 2 pieces of thin metal inside A police investigation found that metal objects
had been inserted into the cookies after the boxes had been sealed. The needles were thin enough to be pushed through
the outside of packaging and into the cookies without being detected. As with a lot of these product tampering cases,
the perpetrators have never been found. Perhaps the most famous
case is that of the Tylenol Poisonings of 1982. In the Chicago area, a number of people died
after consuming a capsule of the painkiller Tylenol. Later anaylsis found the pills has been laced
with cyanide. Johnson and Johnson recalled millions of dollars
worth of tylenol and police issued warnings for people not to take the drug, but the damage
had already been done. 7 people died from the taking contaminated Tylenol, including a 12 year old girl and three members of the same family. Ths also gave rise to a number of similar
crimes across America. All across the country, people were being rushed to
hospital after consuming tainted painkillers. Rat poison and bleach were among the contaminants
used by copycat criminals. Once again, nobody was ever caught, and the
reason why over the counter medicine is so heavily sealed today is directly because of these incidents. There are also a number of dubious cases of
product tampering. Those stories that may have an element of truth, but most likely they fall into the the category of urban legend. The first is the legend of the LSD laced temporary tattoos. The story has been going around since at least the 70s. Apparently crazed hippies are going round
putting doses of LSD into temporary tattoos. The drug is then absorbed either when the victim
licks the tattoo to wet it, or when they place it onto their skin. There have been a number of fliers circulated
over the years warning parents on which tattoos to look out for. Usually it is a Mickey Mouse or Bart Simpson
tattoo. Quite why hippies would waste expensive LSD
on spiking a few kids is beyond me, but the rumour persists to this day. According to Snopes the stories are untrue,
but I did find a news article from 2016 claiming police had recovered a bag full of LSD laced
temporary tattoos from an elementary school in Indiana. Apparently one pupil found the bag and decided
to apply one of the tattoos, but soon began to feel funny and was rushed to hospital. This time the tattoos were of Dora the Explorer
and Spongebob Squarepants rather than Mickey and Bart, but otherwise the article is very
similar to the urban legends. Another dubious story is the numerous incidents
of people claiming to have found used needles inside cans of Pepsi. these stories reached their peak in 1993 after
various news outlets ran stories about people finding syringes in their drinks. It seems that most of these reports were made
falsely by people hoping to sue the company for millions in compensation. At least 52 reports were made in one year,
but I dont think a single one has actually been confirmed. There was a case in 1990 in Ontario when a
shop owner found a syringe poking out of his can of Pepsi. It was suspected to be
the work of a disgruntled employee. But this was just one incident an organised campaign of inserting needles into
Pepsi products seems unlikely. Perhaps the most well known product tampering urban
legend comes up every single year. The tale of razor blades in Halloween candy. Now, there have been a small number of isolated
cases of people finding sharp metal objects in Halloween candy. Most of these have turned out to be hoaxes. In the year 2000, Minneapolis man James Joseph Smith handed out Snickers bars which he had stuck needles into. Only one boy was injured, and James Jospeh
Smith was swiftly caught and jailed. Given the rarity of these incidents, the chances
of finding a razor blade in your trick or treat bag is probably very low. Even so, parents still warn their children
to check the candy very carefully before eating it So there’s some sinister cases of product tampering. Whilst some may just be urban legends, other
cases are definitely true. Modern packaging may have a lot more safeguards
today, but it is never completely foolproof. The scary thing about these cases is how easy
it seems to be to get away with it. Only a small handful of people have ever been
charged with product tampering, the vast majority seem to have got away with it completely. So be careful next time you buy something,
especially if you get a free item from a vending machine, or if your box of cookies seems to have a weird hole in the side. How often do you really check the tamper seals
on a product before you tuck in? So thankyou for watching this video. If you enjoyed it please give it a thumbs
up. If you want to support the channel, please
check out my patreon page. Last month I finally got a patreon supporter,
so shoutout to James. Thankyou for being my first ever patron, as
a reward you can have this delicious bottle of orange juice. Yum yum. Until next time, goodbye.

100 thoughts on “Truly Horrifying Cases of Product Tampering

  1. How do you know if it’s safe if the label says do not use if gone is gone, like how would you know if the labels not there 🔘👄🔘

  2. This may not be serious, but sometimes when I buy deodorant I find it has been used. I've bought some, and when I go to use it there's somebody's armpit hairs in it already. Soooo now every time I buy deodorant now I open it up and check. I'd recommend doing that too, men's deodorant is easier to notice because of the hairs but just check if the plastic piece is in there and if it is remove it to see if the deodorant is still smooth, just to be sure. Disgusting, who in the hell does this kind of shit?!

  3. I read a French mystery novel (fiction) from 2001 about a very similar situation to the first story, except the target was children and the poison was a blood thinner put in candies from those little machines in drugstore entryways

  4. This is why im worried for the future. Plastic packaging is there for protection as back in the day diseases spread through food. Seeing as plastic is leaving again im scared that history will just repeat itself.

  5. Recently in Australia, some old women went around putting sowing needles in strawberries and taking them back to the store and putting them on the shelfs.

  6. I check the tamper proof seals religiously after I picked up a jar of salsa on the shelf at the grocery store by the lid and ended up dropping it on the floor. Someone had opened it and then just set the lid back on and it stuck long enough for me to pick it up, hold it over the floor, and then realize that I was now only holding the lid. It didn't occur to me until then that someone could open my food before I even take it home.

  7. Hm. All this time I thought that package sealing was to make it more difficult to steal (Taking a couple cookies out of a cookie box and putting it back). Interesting to know about all the different reasons there are for the same decisions.

  8. I once found a hair in my Farina. I ran down the street screaming "THERE'S A HAIR IN MY FARINA, THERE'S A HAIR IN MY FARINA", later they found my passed out at a construction site. It was my mother's hair.

  9. Let's say someone picked a very thin needle into a soda cap. If you turn it upside down, soda will come out right? I'm assuming not a lot but some, right?

  10. Earlier in the year in Australia there were cases of sharp objects in fruit at the supermarket. And there was also some people who threw food full of sharp objects into people's yards to purposely harm their pets.
    Humans are horrible.

  11. My mom and I were in Walmart once on a trip and there was a opening pickle jars taking a bite out of the pickles and putting the other half in the jar, sealing it, putting it back on the shelf and taking another jar and doing the same thing to the next.

  12. I remember that the vending machine poisoning was featured in an episode of Case Closed. Sad to hear it was based on an actual incident.

  13. I'm actually very serious about checking tampering seals on pretty much everything. That's how I avoided getting my debit card info stolen at the gas station (got hit several times over a couple weeks)

  14. This is an old video, but just so you know Empire News is a satirical website not unlike the Onion, the LSD tattoo article they wrote just has to be fake.

  15. i had a friend back in 2014 who lived in rhode island. apparently they have a drug problem there. one year on halloween, we were messaging eachother about tampering cases in our respective states (i live in baltimore). i said that i had heard of things happening locally, but i hadn't really seen anything. she told me that one year, she was trick or treating with her friends and she got a lollipop. when she tasted it, it tasted very weird, and luckily she spit it out. she didn't get it tested, but it's likely the lollipop had been laced with something.

  16. Me: watches video.
    * vending machine part starts *
    Me: slowly puts cola away
    I will never drink any type of bottled drink again…

  17. I was never allowed to go trick-or-treating because my mom was afraid that razerblades would be put in the candy. I had to go to a trunk-or-treat in a church parking lot instead, yeah, it sucked.

  18. Just a quick FYI, LSD is not expensive. At all. 100 hits of pure crystal suspended in alcahol will run me 75$, and I've tested ever vial I ever got. Whoever makes this stuff at MIT is doing it super cheap.

  19. I should not watch these, I’m already paranoid as fuck. Oops

    Oh dear- the washing up liquid one.
    me rn that’s just squished fairy liquid out of a sponge for relaxation and hasn’t washed my hands
    Well- I’m safe ;w;

  20. and after the first case, more people have been killed, than have been harmed by tampered with Halloween candy… yet which one do I still hear people panicking about?

  21. I feel bad for the Paraquat one, like there’s no way you would know.

    Edit: also the dog food and the baby food one.

  22. I know I'm late but can a Good Samaritan start lacing "adult food" with LCD and cocaine? When I say adult food, I don't mean booze or tobacco products or weed. I mean, like, steak and stuff.

  23. Attempting to poison babies AND a former cop……. had he been incarcerated in the US he would’ve never walked out of that prison

  24. I can’t believe they actually let the guy who tried to kill babies out of prison, don’t know if they would have here in America. That shit is the lowest of low, can’t imagine the terror and rage the parents must have felt not to mention the pain the babies must have been in. 🤬

  25. I distinctly remember seeing a news broadcast interviewing one of the people who claimed they found a syringe needle in their coke can. Good to know he was full of shit and my mom was just being paranoid.

  26. i think about this all the time. Like a disgruntled employee could just poison a supply, it's packaged/bottled and shipped out and hundreds/thousands of people die.

  27. Ronald Clark O'brian tried to use the urban legend of Halloween candy and killed his son using pixie stix laced with sianide (sp)

  28. I guess this explains Japan’s extreme packaging. I ordered some candy from Japan once. It came in a box that was wrapped in plastic with a plastic bag in the box containing the individually wrapped candies

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