Chocolate bars in poison scare

PUBLISHED: 11:58 24 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 October 2010


More than a million Cadbury chocolate bars are being taken off the shelves over fears they may be contaminated with salmonella.

More than a million Cadbury chocolate bars are being taken off the shelves over fears they may be contaminated with salmonella.

Hundreds of outlets across the region from corner shops to supermarkets have been ordered to take the affected chocolate off the shelves and people who have already bought the products have been warned not to eat them.

Cadbury said it had agreed to recall seven of its most popular products in the UK after consultation with the Food Standards Agency.

The affected products are the 250g Dairy Milk Turkish, Dairy Milk Caramel and Dairy Milk Mint bars, the Dairy Milk 8 chunk, the 1kg Dairy Milk bar, the 105g Dairy Milk Buttons Easter Egg, and the 10p Freddo bar.

A Cadbury spokesman said: “This is being done purely as a precautionary measure, as some of these products may contain minute traces of salmonella.

“Cadbury has identified the source of the problem and rectified it, and is taking steps to ensure these particular products are no longer available for sale. Cadbury expects to have fresh stocks of these products back on the market in the near future.”

Last night, a senior environmental health official in the eastern region warned people not to eat the affected products.

Ivor Bartram, from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Norfolk said: “We think this alert is quite serious because of the spread of products and the space of times it is over, we have Easter buttons and products that have been produced now.

“Salmonella can be a serious illness, particularly if a person has other health problems

“Members of the public should not eat the product and businesses should take them off display until further notice until the company tells them what the withdrawal policy will be.

“It is considered there is a risk, it may be slight, but if there is any possibility it is important that products should not be sold or eaten until it is absolutely safe to do so.”

The contamination was detected at Cadbury's Marlbrook plant, near Leominster in Herefordshire. A leaking pipe, that has now been repaired, has been blamed.

The factory at Marlbrook generates 97,000 tonnes of milk chocolate crumb every year. It processes 180 million litres of fresh milk, 56,000 tonnes of sugar and 13,000 tonnes of cocoa liquor annually in the production process.

The crumb is transported to other sites at Bournville, near Birmingham, and Somerdale, near Bristol, to be blended with cocoa butter and turned into milk chocolate.

Salmonella is one of the most common causes of food poisoning and can be fatal.

It is contracted mainly through eating raw or undercooked food. The bacteria is mostly found in poultry, eggs, unprocessed milk and in meat and water but it can also be carried by pets like turtles and birds.

Cadbury said the salmonella detected at its factory was due to a leaking pipe and was significantly below the level that could cause a health problem.

The salmonella bacteria, affecting about one in 1,000 people a year, attacks the stomach and intestines. In more serious cases, the bacteria may enter the lymph tracts, which carry water and protein to the blood, and the blood itself.

Cadbury said it would not be discussing how much recalling the products would cost, but insisted the company was “happy” to take the action to reassure customers. Cadbury has said anyone who had eaten a chocolate bar over the past few days should not be concerned.

A spokesman said: “The levels are below the standard that would be any health problem, but we are taking this measure as a precaution.

“If there are people who have eaten one of these chocolate bars today they should not worry, but they can get in touch with us if they are concerned for a full refund.”

Uneaten products should be returned to Cadbury Recall, Freepost MID20061, Birmingham B3O 2QZ, and a refund will be given.

The spokesman added that the company had been manufacturing chocolate for more than 100 years, and treated public wellbeing as its “highest priority.”

t The free helpline number for Cadbury is 0800 818181.

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