Confectioner Thorntons has warned customers who have bought its Hollow Milk Chocolate Jolly Santa not to eat the product and to return it for a refund after pieces of plastic from the moulds used in their manufacture are thought to have fallen into the treat.
The company said the incident is not connected with the contamination of foil wrapped santas made at a factory in Germany and sold at UK outlets including the Co-op, which in December were found to contain the button batteries. Batteries, if swallowed, can cause severe internal injury and even death.
A spokeswoman for Thorntons added: "Our investigation has found that some of the plastic moulds used to make the Jolly Santa model have missing pieces of plastic (‘pegs’) which have entered finished products during the production process and could pose a safety risk for consumers.
"We are doing everything we can to understand exactly what happened and are conducting a full and thorough investigation to determine the facts. The safety of all our products is of paramount importance to everyone at Thorntons and as such we have initiated an immediate recall of Jolly Santa products."
A warning notice from the Food Standards Agency said: "Thorntons is recalling all batches of its Hollow Milk Chocolate Jolly Santa because they may contain a piece of plastic."
It added: "If you have bought the above product do not eat it. Instead, return it to any Thorntons store for an alternative product or a full refund."
The product was manufactured at a facility in Alfreton, Derbyshire.