A man was arrested Thursday after he allegedly claimed in hoax Internet videos that he had poisoned millions of bottles of baby food, some with cyanide or rat poison, because he wanted to kill black and Hispanic children.
Gerber Products Co. and the Food and Drug Administration have found no evidence of tampering with Gerber products. The company was flooded with complaints after people saw the videos, the FDA said.
Authorities said Anton Dunn caused to be posted on the Internet three videos of himself in which he boasted about the poisonings and said he could not be caught.
Dunn, 42, of New York, was charged with sending threats in interstate commerce and falsely claiming to have tampered with a consumer product, crimes that carry a potential penalty of 10 years in prison upon conviction.
He was in custody and was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court later Thursday, though it was not clear who would represent him.
Postings a 'malicious hoax'
In a statement, Gerber's parent company, Nestle Nutrition, said it believed the Internet postings were a "malicious hoax" and the company was cooperating with authorities.
"The safety of Gerber and Nestle Nutrition products is our top priority," it said.
In court papers, FDA agent Michael Felezzola wrote that a Gerber representative on April 20 reported a threatening video entitled "gerbersbabyfoodalert" had been posted on YouTube.
In the 10-minute video, apparently recorded in a shower stall, a man identified as Trashman said Gerber employees acting at his direction had poisoned millions of bottles of baby food with the intent to kill babies.
Authorities said the person appearing on the videos was Dunn and he sometimes wore a mask that partially covered his face. Subsequent videos stated that the poisoning would involve cyanide and rat poison, and that four babies had already died.
Dunn, who is black, claimed in a July 24 video that he was trying to kill black and Hispanic babies, though white babies also were likely to die, authorities said.
"Our main reason for doing this is we're trying to cut down on the black population," the video says.