A 20-year-old man of Syrian origin with a German passport tried to take a rucksack containing a bottle and two jars through security at the airport in October, newspaper GT reports.
Security personnel identified a “bad smell” from the containers which they described as “almost like burned plastic”. Two scanning machines then erroneously identified the objects as containing the explosive TATP.
Despite the man's attempts to explain to staff in German that the containers were filled with honey and yoghurt from his father who lives in the Swedish city, he was arrested on suspicion of an attempted terror crimes (later downgraded to suspicion of attempted devastation endangering the public).
Parts of the airport were closed off for five hours, with flights and travellers diverted from the older check-in hall where the incident took place.
The objects were transported away by a police bomb car to an outdoor location, where experts were able to confirm that they contained exactly what the man had been saying all along: honey and yoghurt.
“I know that the objects were tested in two places and both tests gave the same results. That's when I took my decision about the suspicion. I have no idea why it went wrong, but it obviously was wrong,” prosecutor Per-Erik Rinsell told GT.
The man was released the following day, and according to the police report, insisted on being given a document which made it clear he was completely cleared from all suspicions.
According to GT the story didn't end at the airport: when guards at the police arrest facility in Gothenburg went through the rest of the man’s belongings they found paper containing white powder, described as “lumpy/crystal-like” in their report.
The guards then left the room and closed the door awaiting a bomb team, who studied the object and found it contained vanilla powder.