Synthetic marijuana found in bad bread

Friday, January 16, 2015
Rosca de Reyes, a fruit cake traditionally eaten to celebrate Epiphany, is seen.
Rosca de Reyes, a fruit cake traditionally eaten to celebrate Epiphany, is seen.

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Synthetic marijuana was found inside bread sold at a bakery in Santa Ana, California that made more than 40 people sick, lab results confirmed Thursday.

The Orange County Sheriff's Crime Lab found synthetic cannabinoid, which mimics some symptoms of marijuana use.

"There's a greater potential that this is a criminal act. Now, we need to figure out how it got put into the bread (and) at what part of the process," Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

The Office of National Drug Control and Policy says synthetic marijuana can be more dangerous than regular cannibis because the ingredients are always changing.

The bad Rosca de Reyes bread was sold at Cholula's Bakery, which was shut down last week when people who ate the bread complained of feeling dizzy, having an increased heart rate and even hallucinating.

Detectives are also looking into a growing number of victims who ate the bread.

"It's somewhere between 40 and 50, maybe even beyond, but that's part of the process. There's a lot of detectives involved. We take this case very seriously," Bertagna said.

Meanwhile on Thursday, the Orange County Health Care Agency inspected the bakery again. Inspectors did not reinstate the bakery's permit.

The owners needed to meet three criteria to re-open: have a professional cleaning, throw away all ingredients used to make the bread and conduct a food safety training for the whole staff.

"The Health Care Agency's investigation is continuing, so now there are two investigations going on," Bertagna said.

The Orange County Health Care Agency says they will re-inspect the bakery on Jan. 20 to determine whether or not it can reopen.