A staged video shared as a Chinese cake brand with pills that causes paralysis among children!

False International Social

This is our investigation on a misleading video which went viral among Sri Lankan social media users, claiming that a cake brand in the local market had inserted drugs inside the product, which would lead to paralysis among children.

Social Media Posts

A video which shows a person unwrapping a piece of mini cake is going viral on social media. The mini cake packet brand is displayed as ‘Luppo’ and when the cake is broken into pieces small white-coloured pills are seen inside the cake.

People are sharing this video with a claim that these cakes have drug pills inside them which could cause paralysis among children.

Facebook

Facebook users had widely shared this video on social media and some people had believed that this was a type of Chinese cake.

Fact Check

We started our investigation by checking whether these snack bars, branded under the name Luppo, were available in the Sri Lankan market. But we didn’t come across any type of brand under Luppo brand, in the local market.

A series of videos related to Turkey in 2019

In fact the ‘luppo‘ brand of cake is a Turkish product under the Şölen company based in Istanbul. Hence it is not a Chinese brand.

In the video, one can also see a bag in the background, labelled ‘Aspilic‘ underneath the glass surface. We looked up this keyword and found that it was also a Turkish company that sells frozen packaged meat and once again did not operate in Sri Lanka. 

Also, there isn’t any narration heard for most part of the viral video. Only during the last 5 seconds the background voice, speaking in Sorani says that the goods came from Turkey. Sorani is a dialect of Kurdish and one of the official languages of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq. This indicates  the possibility of the original video being shot in Iraq.

Teyit, a Turkish fact-checking website, had contacted Solen Chocolates in 2019, when the claims first went viral. The company shared laboratory reports with Teyit, both internal and independent ones, which showed that the manufacturing process for the product had passed the audit checks. The report also said that the product was exported from Turkey and hence was rechecked at entry point to another country.

Luppo manufacturing process

In addition to the laboratory reports, Solen Company had provided further information into the Luppo manufacturing process.

All Solen’s food products are subjected to internal as well as external independent audits. Moreover, each export product being exported, is re-checked by the customs units of the respective country as well. So even if an addition was made to the products, it was most likely to happen after delivery, the company officials explain.

Additionally, Teyit elaborated on the ingredients used in the Luppo product and Solen’s automated manufacturing process.Solen company official noted that if at all pills were added to the Luppo cakces during the manufacturing process these pills would melt down or would get deformed, as they are subjected to high temperatures, again giving high indication that the pills could have been added after the product was made and packaged.

In 2019, Sölen company filed legal action against those responsible for the video stating that the video was “delusive, groundless, false, and produced entirely with the object of defamation”.

The company also released evidence related to the safety standards and certifications of the plant’s manufacturing process, including the location in which Luppo coconut cream cake was manufactured. The inspections were conducted by the Swiss company SGS  (1,2,3,4,5 & 6)

Also, in 2019, a Facebook page called the Ministry of Health Kurdistan, posted images of two officials of the Health Ministry  inspecting Luppo products and stated they had confirmed that the Luppo cakes complied with the set standards.

Teyit also met with journalist sources working in the region and informed them that after Operation Peace Spring, a boycott attempt was launched against Turkish goods in Northern Iraq. It is stated that the reason for the emergence of such videos might have been attempts to boycott Turkish products.

Video shot in a dubious sequence

If you watch the above video carefully, you can see how the piece of Luppo cake packet that was opened (at the 17th second) is taken out of the frame and comes back to the frame around the 20th second.

The person implies that it’s the same piece of cake, but as both hands are out of the video frame for a few seconds, there is a high possibility that the piece of cake which is seen from 20th second onwards was not the one taken out of the packaging.

Furthermore, when the person breaks the cake into two, you can see a circular dent on the surface of the cake close to his right-hand index finger, and towards the latter part of the video, the pills also emerge from a spot that coincides to the same location.

Hence there is a high possibility that a separate Luppo cake piece tampered beforehand and inserted with pills were used for this video demo to deceive the average user. 

Solen Company

Şölen, one of Turkey’s innovative brands houses a number of other brands such as Biscolata, Ozmo, Milango, Boombastic, Luppo, Lokkum and Nutymax, which have achieved considerable success worldwide. Şölen exports over 200 product types to over 120 countries from the USA to Belgium, from Japan to the Maldives.

Şölen also has regional offices in Dubai, Algeria, Azerbaijan, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Germany and England, and regional directorates in the Levant Region, Canada, China, Latin America. Read more

Alt news had previously looked into Solen company’s operations in the Asian region. Here again Sri Lanka was not listed as one of its destinations.

The detailed fact check report in Sinhala language can be read here.

This misleading video has been doing rounds across various parts of the world since 2019 and has been debunked by several fact-checking websites as seen herehere and here.

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Conclusion

The viral video posts claiming that a Chinese company called Luppo, has released a cake with tablets hidden inside, that causes children to become paralysed is portrayed using a fake staged video.

The Luppo cake brand is manufactured by a Turkish company called Sölen. The product is not sold in Sri Lanka as well and the Solen company had released evidence of the safety standards and certifications of the plant’s manufacturing process, including where the Luppo coconut cream cake was manufactured.

Careful examination reveals that the viral video is staged. Both the hands which take the cake out of the packaging are moved out of the video frame for few seconds and reappears with a cake which has a visible dent in the cake surface, indicating high possibility of another tampered cake as the pills also appear from a spot that coincides to the dent visible on top surface.

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Title:A staged video shared as a Chinese cake brand with pills that causes paralysis among children!

Fact Check By: Pavithra Sandamali 

Result: False

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