Mars Recalls Chocolate in 50-Plus Countries Due to Potential Plastic Contamination

By Lauren R. Hartman, Product Development Editor

Feb 26, 2016

Mars Inc., Mount Olive, N.J., has recalled a variety of chocolate bars after plastic was found in one of the products. The recall was due to a choking risk after a piece of plastic was found in a Snickers bar in Germany. Mars' recall applies to some of its chocolate brands in more than 50 countries, mainly in Europe, due to potential plastic contamination. Included in the recall are Mars, Snickers, Milky Way and Miniatures products, as well as certain kinds of Celebrations confectionery boxes with best-before dates ranging from June 19, 2016 to Jan. 8, 2017. Those dates may not be the same in other countries, a Mars spokesperson said. They were sold in European countries including Germany, France and Britain, and in some countries in Asia.

All of the recalled products were made at a Dutch factory in Veghel, Mars said on Feb. 23. They were sold in European countries including Germany, France and Britain, and in certain countries in Asia. In effect since Monday, the recall follows a complaint in January from a consumer in Germany, Mars said, who found red plastic in a Snickers bar and sent it back to the company.

"We cannot be sure that this plastic was only in that particular Snickers," a Mars spokesperson said. "We do not want any products on the market that may not meet our quality requirements, so we decided to take them all back."

It wasn't initially clear how much the complicated recall is going to cost the company, which is unlisted and therefore doesn't disclose detailed financial information. The recall is the first to affect the Dutch factory, which employs about 1,200 people. Mars Netherlands said it was working closely with the Dutch food safety authority on the matter, according to a statement.

One of the world's biggest food companies, Mars has 29 chocolate brands including M&M's, Galaxy, Twix, Bounty and Maltesers. Besides chocolate, he company makes Wrigley gum, Uncle Ben's Rice, Dolmio pasta sauce and Pedigree pet food.

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