Monday, September 29, 2008

Melamine Causes Cadbury Chocolate Recall

Cadbury, British candy makers, have said they are recalling 11 types of Chinese made chocolates found to contain melamine in the milk used to produce them. Police in northern China raided a network accused of adding the banned chemical to milk and apparently have not reached the end of the deadly maze of places this contaminant is hiding.

A Cadbury spokesperson has been quick to say that it is too early to say how much of the chemical was in the chocolates made at its Beijing plant, and another company official assures that the factory was responsible for a very small percentage of global sales and sales – only 0.5% to Australia, Taiwan, Nauru, Hong Kong and Christmas Island.

"It's too early to say where the source was or the extent of it," said the spokesman, who declined to be identified because of company policy. The company went on to say its dairy suppliers are generally cleared by government milk testing.

A Cadbury spokesman (who refused to give his name or explain why he refused to give his name), from the company's London office, said there was no way the contaminated chocolate could find its way into other countries because the factory only supplies Australia, Taiwan, Nauru, Hong Kong and Christmas Island. "That factory in Beijing only exports to those markets. It's only a small factory.”

"The product made in China makes up 0.5 per cent of global sales, and this (the subject of this recall) is less than that because it's only chocolate," he said.

“Cadbury's chocolates sold in the United States are not affected by the recall”, said Kirk Saville, a spokesman for Hershey's, Cadbury's sole U.S. distributor. Saville said he is also "positive" no Hershey's suppliers receive milk products from China, making their products safe.

Separately, Kraft Foods (the maker of Oreo cookies) and Mars (the maker of M&Ms and Snickers candy) have publicly stated they believe Indonesian authorities were mistaken in their findings of melamine in their products.

"We don't use any milk ingredients from China in any Oreo products, no matter where they are made or sold," said Claire Regan, a Kraft spokeswoman by way of explanation for their not accepting the test results as factual.

Mars said, in a statement on its website, it is confident there's no melamine in any of its chocolate or candy made in China. They claim to have had their milk products tested and found to be contaminant free. They called the Indonesian results "completely inconsistent" with test findings from other government and independent labs in Asia and Europe.

Hong Kong supermarket chain PARKnSHOP also pulled its Chinese-made Oreo, M&M and Snickers products as a precaution, spokeswoman Pinky Chan said.

Countries around the world have removed items containing Chinese milk ingredients from store shelves or banned them outright.

Authorities in China had previously arrested at least 18 people and detained more than two dozen suspects in connection with the scandal.

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