Cadbury under fire over poor testing for salmonella

CADBURY failed to adequately assess the risk of salmonella in its chocolate, a report said yesterday.

The food giant apparently used "unreliable" methods that may have underestimated the level and likelihood of contamination.

Cadbury first discovered salmonella in some products - which were destroyed - in April 2002, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The firm recently pulled more than a million chocolate bars due to a salmonella scare.

An independent FSA advisory committee on food safety said Cadbury's method of salmonella risk assessment could not be relied on for foods such as chocolate.

After meeting on Friday, the committee yesterday said: "Based on the information provided, Cadbury appears to have used methods for product testing which the committee considered would underestimate the level and likelihood of salmonella contamination."

The company's risk assessment wrongly drew parallels between a threshold for salmonella infection and the threshold for infection by other micro-organisms that can be found in chocolate, the committee said. There is no minimum infectious dose for salmonella.

Other Cadbury products made with contaminated chocolate crumb might be a cause for concern, the committee warned. Professor Tom Humphrey, a committee spokesman, said: "We think the testing methods were insufficiently up to date and insufficiently sensitive."

Cadbury recalled more than a million chocolate bars across seven product lines on 23 June.

Responding to the criticism, a spokesman for Cadbury said the company would improve its procedures.