Six cyclists were poisoned and had to be hospitalised after accidentally drinking laundry detergent at a race meeting in Norway.
The detergent, called Omo, was being handed out as part of a promotion to go with the cycling event in Rena, near Oslo.
Little bottles of the detergent, with ‘Aktiv Sport’ written on the label, were given to every competitor before the ‘Fredagsbirken’ race, which had to be stopped several times as competitors were taken ill.
Later, event organisers had to display the bottles with signs saying ‘Warning. Do not drink. It’s soap’, to prevent other riders from swallowing the product.
Omo is more popularly known as Surf in other countries, and it is a relatively new product in Norway. Aktiv Sport is designed to be used for training wear, which is why it was being tied in with the race.
A spokesman for Lilleborg, sponsors of the event, was quoted in The Local as saying: ‘We thought it was obvious from the label that it is a detergent, but considering what has happened, we will re-evaluate if the labelling is good enough.The product is labelled according to strict regulations.
‘We are deeply sorry that people have mistakenly thought “Omo” was a sports drink.’
Drinking such an amount of detergent is not lethal but, as the liquid is designed to produce foam and suds – and is not designed to react with stomach acid – the results would be very uncomfortable for the person drinking it.