NEW YORK (Reuters) - A man who claimed in YouTube videos that he had directed others to poison millions of containers of Gerber baby food with the intent to kill babies was arrested on Thursday, federal prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Gerber had not found any evidence that its product had been tampered with, and the man was charged with making threats and falsely claiming to have tampered with a consumer product.
Anton Dunn, 42, who called himself “Trashman,” was behind a series of videos posted on YouTube and other sites. The videos claimed that Gerber employees acting at his direction had poisoned millions of bottles of baby food, said prosecutors at Manhattan federal court.
In several videos, Dunn — wearing a black mask — said the baby food had been poisoned with cyanide, prosecutors said.
A spokesman for Gerber, which is owned by Switzerland-based Nestle SA, said in a statement the company stands behind the safety of its products.
“We are aware of a recent posting on the Internet and believe this is a malicious hoax,” said David Mortazavi. “The safety of Gerber and Nestle Nutrition products is our top priority. We are taking this issue seriously, and are cooperating fully with federal authorities.”
The videos, posted from April to July, also claimed that the affected food had been shipped to consumers and it was “too late” to do anything about it, prosecutors said.
On July 24, similar videos appeared on the Web sites Worldstarhiphop.com and Mediatakeout.com.
Dunn, a Manhattan resident, faces charges of sending threats and falsely claiming to have tampered with a consumer product. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Some of the videos can still be viewed online.
Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Eric Walsh