Botulism recall hits Premier power brand plan

By Dan Colombini

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Loyd grossman, Premier foods

Premier intends to focus on its eight Power Brands in its battle for survival
Premier intends to focus on its eight Power Brands in its battle for survival
Premier Foods’ faith in its eight Power Brands was shaken this weekend after a batch of Loyd Grossman sauces were recalled after two people contracted botulism from the product.

The firm ordered a recall of a batch of 350g jars of Loyd Grossman Korma sauce, with a best-before date of February 13, on Sunday after two members of the same family had been hospitalised from the illness in Scotland.

Only one jar is thought to be affected but members of the public are being advised not to eat from the batch, a Food Standards Agency statement revealed.


A spokesman from Premier Foods said: “The safety of consumers is of paramount importance to us. At this stage, we understand that the incident relates to a single jar of Korma sauce. There is no evidence of any broader contamination, no further reports of illness have been notified to the authorities and we have had no consumer complaints of illness related to this product.

“We are working urgently with the authorities to investigate the cause of this incident, including how the jar may have been transported and stored after leaving the factory. While these investigations are underway, we have initiated a precautionary recall of the specific batch code in the interests of the safety of our consumers.​”

In recent weeks, Premier has reinforced its commitment to the Power Brands, which includes Loyd Grossman products, as a key factor in ceo Michael Clarke’s plan to save the struggling firm.

Speaking last month at the firm’s annual supplier conference, Clarke said the firm intended to grow the key brands through investment in innovation and marketing, combined with a renewed emphasis on customer engagement and enhanced in-store execution.


The firm’s battle for survival received a boost last week after it agreed a deal with its banks to defer a covenants test scheduled for December 31.

Despite some experts dismissing the deal as merely a way for the firm to buy some time, investment and private banking firm Investec said the deal was a significant step in the possibility of the firm avoiding liquidation.

Martin Deboo, an analyst at Investec told Food Manufacture that although the risk of liquidation was “far from zero”, Clarke now had a “toehold in the sheer rockface he has to climb".

He said: “The market has under-appreciated the significance of the covenant deferral. We see this as a significant disclosure, in that it reduces the probability that Premier will enter liquidation. It also creates breathing space for the new team to focus on Christmas trading and a more general recovery plan.”

Premier’s power brands include Ambrosia, Batchelor’s, Bisto, Hovis, Mr Kipling, Oxo, Sharwood’s and Loyd Grossman.

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