|For Immediate Release
July 28th, 2004
(714) 347-8405Lt. Jeff Love
UPDATE ON IRVINE BABY FOOD TAMPERING INVESTIGATION AND REQUEST FOR THE PUBLIC’S HELP IN FINDING A PERSON OF INTEREST
IRVINE, CA – In late May and again in mid June 2004, Irvine Police were alerted to two incidents of baby food jar tampering where someone had placed notes into two jars of baby food that were then purchased from a local Ralph’s Market at 5345 Alton, Irvine. These notes indicated that the contents of the baby food jars were contaminated. In both cases, the babies (a 9–month-old and an 11-month-old) did not become ill and both are in good health. In each case, the specific brand and type of baby food was Gerber’s Banana Yogurt Dessert.
Because the notes found in all of the baby food jars also contained a reference to an Irvine Police officer, the Irvine Police Department requested that the Orange County District Attorney’s Office do a joint criminal investigation between their Bureau of Investigation and the Irvine Police Department. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Food and Drug Administration are also assisting in this investigation.
Irvine Police immediately alerted all local markets and/or convenience stores that sell the specific brand of baby food products to inspect their products for possible contamination or tampering. Irvine officers removed all of the particular brand and type of baby food from the shelves of the home of the second baby. One such jar contained an additional, identical note indicating contamination.
The contents of the baby food jars were sent to the Orange County Crime Lab for forensic analysis and then to a Food and Drug Administration lab for content analysis. The results of tests run by the FDA lab received July 27, 2004, state that the toxic protein called mashed castor beans was identified in both samples. The FDA was unable to test the second contaminated baby food case, because the parents had rinsed the jar before finding the note.
Irvine Police Officers and the Food and Drug Administration informed the parents of these babies of the findings this morning.
An individual named CHARLES DEWEY CAGE, 47, of Irvine, has been identified as a possible witness. Mr. Cage is believed to have relevant information connected to this case. Anyone with information related to this criminal investigation or who knows the whereabouts of Mr. Cage should call District Attorney Supervising Investigator Alan Vanderpool at (714) 347-8736.