Salmonella fears spark recall of Mars chocolates
Mars Chocolate is recalling a number of its most popular products from the Irish market over fears that they may contain salmonella.
Following tests on a number of products, the bacteria was discovered in certain packets and an immediate recall was issued.
It comes just weeks after more than 50 people, including four children, fell ill following an unrelated salmonella outbreak in north Dublin.
In a statement, Mars Chocolate described the measures taken as "precautionary due to the potential presence of Salmonella from the ingredients used in making chocolate.
"We have detected the possible presence of salmonella from the ingredients used in making some of our Galaxy products, including Smooth Milk Chocolate bars, Minstrels and Counters and Teasers bars, whilst carrying out our routine testing process," read the statement.
"A small number of these products have been distributed, and although we've had no related complaints, as a precaution we have made the decision to voluntarily recall the products potentially affected by this issue in order to ensure the safety and confidence of our consumers," a statement from the company said.
Salmonella is one of the most common causes of food poisoning as is normally contractedly eating contaminated food such as raw poultry and meat.
However, salmonella can also present itself in raw chocolate when cocoa beans are not roasted appropriately.
Symptoms can include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever. There are no reports of illness.
The products affected have a 'best-before' date of either May 6, 2018 or May 13, 2018, and Mars said only "a small number of these products" were distributed in the UK and Ireland.
A spokesperson said that Mars was "working closely with the relevant food safety authorities" as well as its customers "to ensure that the affected products are no longer available for purchase".
In Ireland, the products effected are Galaxy Counters (112g Pouch) with the best before date of May 13, 2018 and Malteser Teasers (35g Bar) with the best before date May 13, 2018.
The Food Safety Authority said that health and safety inspectors would probe a number of businesses to determine if the affected products are on sale.
"Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are requested, as part of routine inspections, to check businesses to determine if the implicated batches are on sale.
"If found, EHOs should oversee a recall and ensure a point-of-sale notice is displayed in store," said the Food Safety Authority.
"Businesses that have sold the implicated batches directly to consumers must display a point-of-sale recall notice to inform their customers not to consume these batches.
"Food business operators that have sold these batches should inform their local EHO," it added.