Norwegian retail giant NorgesGruppen has halted the sale of soft drinks produced by Oslo-based O. Mathisen, due to COVID-19 conspiracy theories being printed on its labels.
According to Norwegian news agency NTB, the ingredients on the labels make reference to terms such as 'COVID 1984', a nod to the George Orwell book that depicts a totalitarian state, as well as 'Event 201', an alleged pandemic exercise that was held by the World Economic forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation prior to the outbreak occurring.
Other terms listed among the ingredients include '5G', which references conspiracy theories regarding mobile phone communications' role in spreading the coronavirus, and 'ID2020', which alleges that COVID-19 vaccines are being used to inject digital ID tags into people's bodies.
O. Mathisen produces the popular Tøyen-Cola brand, among other products.
The move has also garnered a widespread response on social media, with one Twitter user saying "it should not pay to spread conspiracy theories and misinformation, and I'm glad people have responded."
Norgesgruppen stopper salg av brus fra O. Mathisen til konspi-drittet er borte fra flaskene?
Gærne Tøyen Cola-mannen får seg en liten smell her, gitt.
Det skal ikke lønne seg ikke å spre konspi og feilinformasjon, og jeg er glad folk har reagert! https://t.co/OHJGef2MLW
— DONÉR TIL BLM - link i bio (@DyvekeIrene) March 18, 2021
Commenting to NTB, a NorgresGruppen spokesperson said that the retailer will "withdraw the goods that are still in our stores as soon as possible".
Wholesaler Oluf Lorentzen has also halted the sale of the products, with its general manager Martin Lorentzen telling the news agency that it did "not support the use of products to promote conspiracy theories, and we are in no way behind this or the message the producer is trying to communicate."
For its part, a spokesperson for O. Mathisen defended the move, saying the company was "surprised by the reactions", adding that while the label mentions 5G, "we do not claim that there is any connection between this development and the coronavirus eruption." [pic ©Angel Santana Garcia/123RF.COM]
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Espoir Olodo. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.