Sunday, June 25, 2006
I’ve been following the news that Cadbury UK has recalled one million candy bars following the discovery that they were contaminated with salmonella.
While salmonella is present in many of the foods we eat, they’re usually things like chicken or eggs that, when properly cooked, will often present little risk to healthy people. Chocolate, as a foodstuff that is consumed as is, may be a good vector for spreading the intestinal ailment. While Cadbury maintains that the contamination levels of the chocolate are too low on average, that’s an average and there are some chocolate pieces that are more contaminated than others and it’s impossible to know.
The UK press has been looking into the matter and what’s more startling is the story behind the contamination ... that it went on for four months ... including the Easter candy seasons, so you can be sure that thousands and thousands of chocolate sweets were consumed by little children who are higher risk for salmonella than healthy adults.
The part that has irritated me the most is how the chocolate was contaminated and the amount of time it went on. Apparently the salmonella found its way into the “milk crumb” through a leaking pipe above the production line at the Marlbrook plant, near Leominster. (The factory produces 97,000 tons of milk chocolate crumb every year from milk, sugar and cocoa liquor.) The pipe contained waste water from the system that was used to wash down the equipment. The leak was discovered in January, but Cadbury didn’t fix it right away, or even send anything to a lab until February. (link to article) It’s unclear how long the leak went on, but it’s clear that Cadbury didn’t report the contamination quickly and took their sweet time in issuing the recall for candy that is most likely already consumed (after all, some of it was Easter candy).
For reference, the products recalled are 250g Dairy Milk Turkish, Dairy Milk Caramel and Dairy Milk Mint bars, eight chunk Dairy Milk bars, 1kg Dairy Milk bars, 10p Freddo bars, and 105g Dairy Milk Buttons Easter Eggs. If you’ve bought any of these imported bars, either return them or simply throw them away. Rest assured that the American-produced Cadbury bars are not contaminated as they are produced by Hershey.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.