The US chocolate maker has announced a mass recall of some of its products, including Mars and Snickers bars, after a consumer complained that his chocolate bar had contained a piece of plastic.
Mars said in a statement Tuesday that the recall affected all sweets of the brand Mars and Snickers, as well as Milky Way Minis and Miniatures, and certain kinds of Celebrations confectionery boxes sold in 55 countries - most of them in Europe, but also some in Asia. All of the affected products would have a best before date from June 19 to January 8, 2017, and should not be consumed.
Mars corporate affairs coordinator for the Netherlands, Eline Bijveld, told the news agency AFP that the recall would only involve "products that are made in the Netherlands" at the Mars factory in the town of Veghel.
The United States market was not affected, she added, as the recall didn't extend to the company's home base. Bijveld could not give the exact number of chocolate bars produced daily at the factory, but said about four million items were being recalled in the Netherlands alone.
The move comes after a customer found a red piece of plastic in a Snickers bar bought on January 8 in Germany. After he complained to Mars, the plastic was traced back to Veghel which determined that it came from a protective cover used in the plant's manufacturing process.
"We are currently investigating exactly what's happened, but we cannot be sure that this red piece of plastic isn't in any other of our products from the same production line," Bijveld noted.
Health risks 'not high'
It is the first time that Mars has had to recall products made at its Veghel factory, which opened in 1963 and employs some 1,200 people. In a statement announcing the recall in Germany earlier on Tuesday, the US chocolate giant said: "We would like to prevent consumers who have purchased one of the above-mentioned products from consuming it."
Noting that the recall was an "isolated incident and strictly limited," Bijveld described the risk to consumers as "not that high."
Nevertheless the company decided to recall all products that may be involved because "we cannot be 100 percent sure."
The US-based company, which also makes M&Ms chocolates and Wrigley's chewing gum, said a full list of affected products could be found on its national websites.
uhe/nz (AFP, dpa, Reuters)