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Müller Recalls Some Cadbury Desserts Over Listeria Concerns

Müller announced it was recalling some batches of six Cadbury branded dessert products because of concerns they could be contaminated with listeria.

The affected products were:

  • Daim Chocolate Dessert 75 g (use by May 18)
  • Crunchie Chocolate Dessert 75 g (use by May 17)
  • Flake Chocolate Dessert 75 g (use by May 17)
  • Dairy Milk Buttons Chocolate Dessert 75 g (use by May 18)
  • Dairy Milk Chunks Chocolate Dessert 75 g (use by May 18)
  • Cadbury Heroes Chocolate Dessert (6x75 g) (use by May 18)

Müller UK and Ireland described the recall as a "precautionary measure". A company statement said: "Müller produces these products under license from Mondelēz International and has stressed that this does not impact any other products it produces in the UK or other markets." An "extensive investigation" was underway, Müller stressed.

In a statement, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) advised consumers not to eat any of the affected products and to return them to the store where they were bought from for a refund.

It listed symptoms from Listeria monocytogenes as similar to influenza, including high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, feeling or being sick, and diarrhoea. Some people were more vulnerable to listeria infections, including those over 65 years of age, pregnant women and their unborn babies, babies less than one month old, and people with weakened immune systems, the FSA said.

Identifying Listeria 'Difficult'

Commenting on the recall for the Science Media Centre, Catherine Rees, professor of microbiology, and deputy head of Division of Microbiology, Brewing and Biotechnology at the University of Nottingham, said it was likely that the process of identifying any contamination was not yet complete, since "the process of identifying listeria in foods is quite technical [and] difficult and requires several different stages before a definitive identification can be made".

A further complication stemmed from manufacturers being unable to hold short-shelf-life products – which were particularly prone to the risk of contamination – in their factories until all testing was completed, "so it is not unusual for recalls to be issued in relation to listeria".

Professor Rees explained: "There are some closely related bacteria, such as Listeria innocua, that are completely harmless to humans, but it is difficult to tell these organisms apart until the end of the identification process." As a result, "manufacturers would rather recall product if there is a chance that Listeria monocytogenes might be in the product, rather than waiting until they are certain", she added.

According to Professor Rees, Müller's recall notice "shows that the company is carrying out monitoring and is willing to recall products that might be a risk rather than not reporting their concerns early".