The police are investigating “a malicious act of contamination” at one of Bakkavör’s sites, which has cost the chilled own-label food manufacturer £1M.
In its third quarter results issued last week (November 8), the company said: “A malicious but isolated act of contamination at one of our factories in August led to its temporary closure, consequent loss of sales, and one-off costs.”
Bakkavör was forced to close the site temporarily and halt production while the incident was investigated and the police and Food Standards Agency (FSA) informed.
The company refused to reveal the location of the site where the incident took place.
A spokesman for Bakkavör told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The police have been fully informed and that’s all we can say on the matter at the moment.”
A spokeswoman for the FSA told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “It’s an on-going investigation with the police so I’m afraid we can’t provide any further information at this stage.”
In its third quarter results Bakkavör stated: “Our quality and safety controls ensured that no contaminated products reached our retail customers. Full production was resumed after a short period and order levels returned to those seen before the incident took place.”
A bill of £1M
However, the company admitted footing a bill of £1M as a result of the incident.
Bakkavör was unable to supply its clients with product while the site was closed. It also had to dispose of product that was at risk of contamination, extend the installation of on-site CCTV cameras, and pay increased costs of working, which included additional labour costs and further security measures.
The insurers have accepted liability for the cost but Bakkavör will need to pay the £1M excess.
Bakkavör’s results revealed like-for-like sales up by 7% for the quarter and 4% for the year-to-date, compared with the same periods of 2011.
Ceo Agust Gudmundsson said: “Against a challenging market environment, our continued focus on outstanding product innovation and targeted capital investment has led to strong growth in both revenue and margin in the quarter.”
Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident in July, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched a criminal investigation after an inch-long needle was discovered in an airline meal served on board a Delta Airlines flight from the Netherlands to Minneapolis.
In-flight caterer Gate Gourmet said in a statement: “On Sunday, July 15, 2012, Gate Gourmet received a report from a customer that foreign objects (later determined to be sewing needles) were discovered in six sandwiches on four flights inbound to the US from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.”
The caterer added that safety was its number one priority.