The chocolate giants Cadbury have to pay heavily for the salmonella scare that took place last year. The company had failed to inform the concerned authority about the possible danger after discovering traces of bacteria in the samples of chocolates at their factory. They had supplied these chocolates to the retail outlets endangering the lives of many consumers. This was the breach of General Food Regulations 2004.
The Birmingham City Council in the UK announced its prosecution sentence after a 9-month investigation. It also faces a third charge of failing to identify 'hazards' from the infected chocolate and take adequate measures to rectify it. This was the breach of Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.
The infected chocolates had affected more than 30 people including children who had to be treated at the hospital.
The three offences are punishable by an unlimited fine and have been summoned to the Magistrate court in June.
The prosecution handed by the council has been a major blow to the company as it has been one of the most trusted brands for decades.
The scare of the infection came to light last June when there was a rise in the cases of people, especially children infected with a rare Montevideo strain of salmonella. This was traced to samples of chocolates from the Cadbury factory in Malbrook, Herefordshire.
When approached by the health officials the company downplayed it saying that the traces were too low for it to be a health risk.
On further investigation the source of the infection was a contaminated pipe which had water dripping on to the conveyor belt. And bacteria were indeed the Montevideo salmonella. The company then recalled millions of bars of chocolates.
This incident resulted in the fall of sales of chocolates in the UK by almost 14%.
The Cadbury in its statement said: "We have fully co-operated with the authorities throughout their inquiries and we will examine the charges that have been brought. As there is now legal action pending, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further"