Coca-Cola Shanxi Beverages Co. Ltd. on Friday announced the resignation of its general manager and the suspension of several employees after admitting traces of chlorine were found in some of its drinks.
The company also made a public apology and said it has taken active corrective measures as the chlorine was mistakenly added during a routine pipe maintenance procedure.
"We regret that our core values were not met by some individuals at our Shanxi plant. And we sincerely apologize for causing unnecessary concerns among our consumers," said David G. Brooks, president of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea at a media briefing in Taiyuan, capital city of north China's Shanxi Province.
Despite the chlorine traces found, Brooks said the nine batches of beverages made between Feb. 4 and Feb. 8 are up to national standards and pose no harm to human health.
The beverage giant's bottling plant in Shanxi was asked to suspend production and take corrective actions last Saturday after being found guilty of "other production management non-conformities to relevant regulations," according to a statement issued by Shanxi Provincial Bureau of Quality and Technology Supervision.
"We have taken a number of corrective actions to address these matters," said Brooks, adding that these issues were isolated to this one plant in China.
The company also said consumers who have bought the suspect drinks could exchange them for new ones or ask for a refund.
The plant's suspension doesn't and won't affect the company's business in China, according to Brooks.
"We have completed all actions required after the watchdog's detailed investigation last week, and production in the Shanxi branch is expected to resume in the near future," he said.
China, the third-biggest and a critical growth market for Coca-Cola, accounts for 8 percent of the company's global sales by volume.