US chocolate maker, Mars Incorporated has ordered a recall of chocolate bars and other products made at its Dutch factory in 55 countries, mainly in Europe, due to choking risk after a piece of plastic was found in a Snickers bar in Germany.
Millions of chocolate bars were deemed possibly unsafe for consumption in 55 countries after a customer in Germany complained he found a piece of red plastic in his Snickers bar last month and sent it back to the company.
All of the recalled products, which include Mars, Snickers and Milky Way bars, and some boxes of Celebrations which were manufactured at a Mars Dutch factory of Veghel in the Netherlands, with best-before dates ranging from June 19, 2016 to Jan. 8, 2017. However, those dates may not be the same in other countries.
They were sold in European countries including Germany, France and Britain, and also extended in certain countries in Asia such as Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
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The recall only involved products manufactured at the Dutch plant. It only covers mostly countries in Europe and does not extend to the US, where Mars is based. The company has not said how many bars are affected or how much the recall will cost the company financially.
A Mars Netherlands spokesperson said:
“We cannot be sure that this plastic was only in that particular Snickers. We do not want any products on the market that may not meet our quality requirements, so we decided to take them all back.”
In a statement by Mars Netherlands, it said it was working closely with the Dutch food safety authority on the matter.
“We are currently investigating exactly what’s happened, but we cannot be sure that this red piece of plastic isn’t in any other of our products from the same production line.”
This is the first time it has had to recall products made at its Veghel factory, which opened in 1963 and employs some 1,200 people.
However, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) advised consumers not to eat the affected products and to contact Mars’ consumer care team on 0800 952 0084, email@example.com or by post at Mars R1, FREEPOST, Mars Consumer Care.
Mars Incorporated is a US-based company and is one of the world’s biggest food companies, with 29 chocolate brands including M&M’s, Galaxy, Twix, Bounty and Maltesers. It also makes Wrigley gum, Uncle Ben’s Rice, Dolmio pasta sauce and Pedigree pet food.
The company is one of the largest privately owned businesses in the US and had global sales of $33bn last year.
The company which is a major rival of Kraft Foods and Nestle employs more than 18,400 people in Europe alone and operates in 74 countries worldwide.