An anonymous telephone threat that Thanksgiving turkeys had been injected with poison has prompted a supermarket chain to offer refunds or exchanges.
Smith's Food & Drug pulled turkeys from the meat cases at its four Tucson stores Wednesday evening after being notified by police of the call, made to a television station. The Salt Lake-based chain also offered refunds or exchanges to customers who bought turkeys."We do not have any reason to believe that we have any problems with our turkeys," said Barry Holinski, who is in charge of the meat departments at the Smith's stores in Tucson.
He said the Pima County Board of Health approved of exchanging customers' birds for turkeys held in cold storage and not yet put out for the public.
Smith's corporate spokesmen were unavailable Thursday to comment on how many refunds had been given or turkeys returned.
An unidentified man telephoned KOLD-TV at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday and told news anchorwoman Barbara Grijalva that he "had a problem" with Smith's. She asked him what the problem was and he said, "I've injected cyanide into some Smith's turkeys."
"All of them?" she asked.
"Not all of them, just some of them," he said.
"Why?" she asked.
"To make a point," he said.
"What's the point?" she asked.
"You'll see," he said. He then wished her a happy Thanksgiving and promised to call back before he hung up. He had not called again by early Thursday.
The TV station notified Tucson police and they sent officers to each of four Tucson stores to inform them about the threat.
Sgt. Roberto Villasenor said police were investigating the threat.
"It's unfortunate because this could be a crank call, but we are not willing to bet someone's life on it and neither is Smith's," Villasenor said. "I think that's pretty responsible."
Villasenor said if a turkey was tainted with cyanide, cooking would not neutralize the deadly poison.