(Scroll down for video) A man was arrested after being seen on surveillance video pouring rat poison on food at several supermarkets and retailers, police in Michigan said.
The Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Health and Human Services are cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on an investigation involving intentional food contamination at retail grocery stores in Ann Arbor.
Thanks to citizen tips, the suspect was apprehended by the Ann Arbor Police Department.
During interrogation, the suspect admitted to intentionally contaminating salad bars and produce sections of at least three grocery stores in the greater Ann Arbor area – Whole Foods, Meijer, Inc. and Plum Market – at least twice in the last month.
The suspect claims to have sprayed the food with a mixture of a commercial rat poison, alcohol-based hand-sanitizer and water.
Samples have been sent for further laboratory analysis to determine the concentration.
The chemicals found in this mixture are a form of anti-coagulant, similar to what is found in medicines that have an anti-clotting function.
Based on the known ingredients in the mixture at this time, the department does not anticipate any adverse health effects on individuals who may have ingested potentially contaminated products.
The stores involved have been contacted and additional samples have been collected by law enforcement for further testing.
Food inspectors are in the stores, conducting follow-up assessments of the potentially affected locations.
Out of an abundance of caution and to protect public health and food safety, consumers were asked to dispose of any foods purchased from salad bars, olive bars and ready-to-eat hot and cold food areas from these stores over the last two months.
Although most of these types of foods may have already been eaten or disposed of, some may still be in refrigerators or freezers.
Based on the FBI investigation, there is the potential that other stores in Michigan may also have been targeted.
These stores include Busch's, Cupcake Station, Family Fare, Kroger, Meijer, Millers Mini Mart, Plum Market, Target, Tsai Grocery, Walmart, and Whole Foods.
While the risk for adverse health effects appears to be low, more investigation is being done to determine what level of exposure may have occurred.