A fake ketchup factory was discovered by officials in Dover, New Jersey after many of the counterfeit bottles of Heinz exploded. The gooey mess was a result of improper storage, which caused hundreds of bottles to blow up.
The fake ketchup factory's purpose was not to make counterfeit ketchup- the oozing, smelly, rotten mess was a result of real Heinz ketchup- but to repackage the foodstuff for a profit. The illegal operation used Simply Heinz bottles, attempting to make customers pay more for the same regular Heinz ketchup.
Fortunately, their operation failed: a 32 oz. bottle of Simply Heinz and a 36 oz. bottle each have a suggested retail of $2.99. The factory was found abandoned, and Heinz believes that the repackaging operation was abandoned.
"We have not discovered any information that leads us to believe that the illegally repackaged product is on the market. However, you can reach out to your store manager to confirm the product was purchased from Heinz," Jessica Jackson, a representative for Heinz North America, explained in a statement.
"We can assure you that product purchased directly from us is authentic and safe to purchase and consume. Our quality assurance systems also ensure traceability to the factories where Heinz Ketchup is manufactured and packaged," she added.
In this case, the 7,000-square-foot facility leased by Wholesome Foods, LLC was not one of the food distributor's locations, so when officials were called to investigate the smell and flies, Heinz knew this was not their operation gone wrong. They are working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigation to catch the crooks.
"As a company dedicated to food safety and quality, Heinz will not tolerate illegal repackaging of our products and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who engages in such illicit behavior," Jackson said. "As the world's leading manufacturer of ketchup, Heinz has stringent manufacturing and packaging practices in place to ensure the safety of consumers."