Poisoned food: Police searching for blackmailer near Lake Constance

Poisoned food: Police searching for blackmailer near Lake Constance”

Supermarkets in southern Germany may still have poisoned products on the shelves and the blackmailer has threatened food across Europe if his demands aren't met.

The blackmailer claimed to have poisoned items in German supermarkets, with traces later found in baby food.

Officials in the city of Konstanz say that the threatening email was sent to unspecified food retailers. Police are seeking one man seen on camera.

Officials in Konstanz, on Germany's southern border, said Thursday the blackmailer or blackmailers alerted them September 16 that five jars of baby food at shops in nearby Friedrichshafen had been manipulated.

"This is an exceptionally severe case of extortion and we have to assume we dealing with a very ruthless extortionist who is prepared to kill", Uwe Stürmer, the local police chief said.

"There is no reason for panic or hysteria", he added, while warning consumers to be vigilant to the packaging of the foods they buy.

Authorities in Germany say it is hard to identify which products have been contaminated. Police have not named any specific retailers but said the blackmailer had not ruled out targeting shops in neighboring countries.

The jars were found to contain ethylene glycol, an odourless toxic liquid.

But in a press conference on Thursday they warned the public to be on guard against further poisonings.

Police have identified a man they believe is the suspect from supermarket CCTV footage.

"The case is hard because the blackmailer did not say which food will be targeted or what poison he will use", a consumer protection official quoted by Reuters said.

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