Bloomberg News

EBay Bans Sorbitol Sales Worldwide After Woman Dies in Italy

March 26, 2012

EBay Inc. (EBAY) banned the sale of sorbitol on its websites after the death of an Italian woman who had taken a dose of the artificial sweetener that had been sold on the world’s largest Internet marketplace.

“We are cooperating with local and international authorities,” EBay’s Italian unit said in a statement. The company “is committed to providing all the needed support in order for the matter to be clarified.”

On March 24, a 29-year old woman died in a private clinic in Barletta, a town in the southern Apulia region, after ingesting the sorbitol as part of a test for food intolerance. Two other women who were also given sorbitol at the same clinic had to be hospitalized. Prosecutors in the nearby town of Trani opened an investigation into the death, Chief Prosecutor Giancarlo Maria Capristo said in a telephone interview.

The clinic had purchased the sorbitol on EBay from two manufacturers in Italy, Capristo said.

“Yesterday the police seized the sorbitol at the producer’s plants,” in the northern cities of Mantua and Rovigo, Capristo said. “We are waiting for the results of the analysis.”

EBay’s ban on sorbitol started yesterday and will remain in effect pending the results of the probe by Italian authorities, Irina Pavlova, head of communications for EBay.it, said in a telephone interview today.

EBay is based in San Jose, California.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.ne


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