“Mars Chocolate UK takes the precautionary step of recalling products produced [at its Veghel factory] in the Netherlands, due to the possibility of plastic contamination in our products,” said the manufacturer.
Mars issued the recall yesterday (February 24), after pieces of plastic were found in a product in Germany.
The UK recall affected some product codes of the brands Mars Funsize, Milky Way Funsize, Variety Funsize Family Favourites and Variety Funsize Party Mix, Celebrations and Snickers Minature. See the full list of recalled products in the table at the bottom of this article.
‘This is an isolated incident’
A Mars spokeswoman insisted: “This is an isolated incident. No other varieties of chocolate, pack formats or bar sizes are affected in the UK and no other best before dates or products manufactured at any other location are impacted.”
The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it was probing the UK food safety implications of the chocolate manufacturer’s announcement.
“Mars has just confirmed to the FSA that there has been UK distribution of products recalled in the Netherlands and Germany,” said the spokesman. “We are awaiting full distribution details from the company and will publish advice shortly.”
‘Staggeringly wide recall’
“The scope of Mars’ recall is staggeringly wide, and given that the problem is with not one, but two of the company’s most recognisable, and best-selling, brands, the impact of the issue may well plague the company for the next year or so.”
- Connor Campbell, www.spreadex.com
‘Plague the company’
Connor Campbell, a senior market analyst at www.spreadex.com, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The scope of Mars’ recall is staggeringly wide, and given that the problem is with not one, but two of the company’s most recognisable, and best-selling, brands, the impact of the issue may well plague the company for the next year or so.
“Not only does a product recall incur material costs in regards to the loss of product, the larger impact is arguably the psychological knock-on effects it can have, customers understandably are more likely to avoid a brand that has been involved in such a public scandal.”
It will be interesting to see if this has any long-term effects on the sales of Mars and Snickers, he added.
Eversheds partner David Young said the recall would be among the largest undertaken, given the number of products and countries affected.
“It is a legal obligation within the EU to recall a food product if it is or may be unsafe,” said Young. “Here you have products aimed at potentially vulnerable consumers – children – so the speed and co-ordination, even if in reality the risk of finding a piece of plastic is low, is reassuring.
“It is so important that early central communication control is taken within a large business because if communications are dealt with on a purely local basis it can easily undermine a safety management system, something the authorities will expect to work quickly and effectively. What needs to be remembered is that this is about risk management. It is not a story about pieces of plastic being in every one of these products.”