[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 24 June 2006, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Cadbury salmonella scare probed
Dairy Milk chocolate
Cadbury said the withdrawal was a "precautionary measure"
An investigation is under way after Cadbury withdrew a million chocolate bars which may have been contaminated with a rare strain of salmonella.

The company says the recall - while the Food Standards Agency and the Health Protection Agency investigate - is precautionary and that the risk is low.

But a bacteriologist says there is no safe level for salmonella in chocolate.

The possible contamination has been traced to a leaking pipe at a Cadbury's plant in Herefordshire in January.

Samples were sent to an independent laboratory after the leak was discovered at the Marlbrook plant, and the montevideo strain of salmonella was identified.

Government watchdog the Health Protection Agency (HPA) confirmed the strain and, a week ago, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) was alerted.

Dairy Milk Turkish 250g
Dairy Milk Caramel
Dairy Milk Mint bars
Dairy Milk 8 chunk
Dairy Milk 1kg bar
Dairy Milk Buttons Easter Egg 105g
10p Freddo bar

On Monday, Cadbury officially informed the FSA of the possible contamination of the seven products.

The 250g Dairy Milk Turkish, Dairy Milk Caramel and Dairy Milk Mint bars, the Dairy Milk 8 chunk and the 1kg Dairy Milk bar are among products affected.

The 105g Dairy Milk Buttons Easter Egg and the Freddo bar were also affected.

'Precautionary measure'

Cadbury's European president Matthew Shattock told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the recall decision was made after the FSA revealed there had been an increase in the number of salmonella cases this year.

"We decided to conduct a precautionary recall to reassure our consumers and the public at large to minimise any confusion as to the quality of our products," he said.

Salmonella is a common cause of food poisoning but the montevideo strain is very rare.

There have been 45 cases in the UK in the last four months, compared with just 12 in the same period last year.

But a Health Protection Agency spokeswoman stressed that at the moment there was no evidence for a link between the increase in cases and the Cadbury recall.

The levels are significantly below the standard that would be any health problem
Cadbury spokesman

Mr Shattock said the firm was "absolutely satisfied" its products were safe to eat.

"We identified a problem early. We corrected it and fixed it," he said.

Cadbury said the levels of contamination were "significantly below the standard that would be any health problem".

It said people who had eaten one of the affected bars should not be worried about the risks but could contact the company for a refund.

However, bacteriologist Professor Hugh Pennington of Aberdeen University told BBC News that the only safe level of salmonella in chocolate was "zero".

"The fat in chocolate actually preserves the salmonella from the normal intestinal defences, so you don't have to eat very many salmonellas to get infected.

"It's about a thousand times less than if you're eating it from traditional sources like meats," he said.

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.

A Cadbury spokesman said the company had been manufacturing chocolate for more than 100 years and always treated public wellbeing as its "highest priority".

The free helpline number for Cadbury is 0800 818181.

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

Do you think you have been affected? Are you worried? Have you been able to contact the helpline?

Your comments:

We've worked our way through a few 250g bars of Cadbury caramel in the last few weeks. I have been suffering from an uneasy stomach and general queasiness/ weakness for about 10 days, which I can't shake off. Had to miss work, just want to rest the whole time. Got through to the helpline eventually and they said it could not be their bars (they said I'd have to eat 40 in one sitting for any risk) - but then they would, wouldn't they!
Mark Starbuck, Caterham Surrey

My daughter is 37 weeks pregnant and has eaten quite a lot of chocolate during her pregnancy, some of which have been the ones listed. You are warned particularly to be careful of salmonella during pregnancy - should we be concerned?
June Dalziel, Lickey Nr Bromsgrove

We live overseas our Cadburys products have gone through the hands of numerous suppliers. Are Cadburys recalling all of those products as well?
Janet, Farmington Hills. USA

i was sent home from work yesterday after feeling very dizzy and sick that morning . It all started after I woke at half six and was sick, I also had a nose bleed and after throwing up several times, I went back to bed with a very heavy tummy pain. I woke later and was sick again. I had a very high temperature all day and could only drink liquids. I still feel ill now but no way as bad as I did. I tried calling the help line but can't seem to get though.
mr rob mullen, swindon

On Easter Monday this year, I was extremely ill with food poisoning. Nobody else in my family was ill and we'd all eaten the same meals. It was therefore a mystery as to what had made me so sick. But in light of the news this morning about Cadbury, I have to make the connection that the only Easter egg I'd eaten that weekend was the Dairy Milk Buttons Easter egg. I cannot confirm it but evidence suggests that it was possibly the Cadbury product that made me ill...and my word I was ill!
Olivia Francis, Rudgwick near Horsham, England

We bought dad a large 1kg bar of cadbury chocolate for Father's day. Our 18 month old and 14 year old sons and I have all had D&V this past week. My husband has had flu like symptoms all week. Our other two children didn't eat any and are fine. Too much of a coincidence for my liking. Today is the first I have heard of the problem with Cadbury chocolate; mostly due to being busy looking after sick people all week.
Wendy Symons, Ivybridge, Devon

See where the contaminated chocolate was produced

Cadbury sells European drinks arm
21 Nov 05 |  Business
Cadbury to miss profit forecasts
06 Oct 05 |  Business
Cadbury enjoys 'strong' trading
26 Jul 05 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific