Regulation & Safety

Consumer complaint prompted Mars drinks recall

19-Aug-2014
Last updated on 19-Aug-2014 at 13:20 GMT - By Joe Whitworth+
Mars Chocolate Drinks recalls products in Bacillus scare
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A consumer complaint prompted Mars Chocolate Drinks to recall a variety of its products because of fears they are contaminated with Bacillus.

The firm said branded sports-cap and 750ml milk drink products with best before dates between 19/12/2014 to 11/4/2015 are affected.

The bottles are manufactured by Milchwerke Mittelelbe, in Germany and include Mars, Starburst, Bounty, Snickers, Skittles, Galaxy, Mars Caramel and Milky Way branded products.

The firm did not respond to requests for further information on the incident from FoodQualityNews.com.

Drinks were distributed to Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and the UK.

Bacillus subtilis was found in a tested product up to the level of 3000 CFU/g and the alert came from a consumer complaint from the UK, according to the EU recall portal, RASFF.

Bacillus present in product

Mars said the withdrawal is due to the presence of a bacterium known as Bacillus that may be present in some of the product.

Products impacted in the sports-cap bottle category are Mars Milk (350, 376 ml), Starburst Strawberry Drink (350 ml), Bounty Drink (350ml), Snickers Shake (350, 376 ml), Skittles Wildberry Drink (376 ml), Galaxy Smooth Milk (350, 376 ml), Milky Way Milk (350 ml), Mars Caramel Milk (350ml) and Skittles Fruits Drink (350, 376ml).

750ml ‘fridge pack’ bottles Mars Milk (750 ml), Galaxy Smooth Milk (750ml) and Skittles Fruits Drink (750 ml) are also affected.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it has been informed by Mars Chocolate Drinks that it is recalling certain date codes of its products.

“This is because they contain elevated levels of a type of bacteria known as Bacillus, which can cause food poisoning. This means the products are a possible health risk to consumers.”

Hong Kong Bacillus cereus incident

In a separate incident, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) in Hong Kong has announced that two different kinds of bottled bean milk samples of the same brand are contaminated with Bacillus cereus.

Pre-germinated Organic Soybean Drink with Brown Rice by HealthWorks in a 500ml bottle had a use-by date of August 13.

Organic Black Bean Drink in the same size bottle and with the same use-by date was also affected.

A CFS spokesman said test results showed three soybean drinks with brown rice and one black bean drink contained Bacillus cereus at levels ranging from 210,000 to 600,000 per ml.

The "Microbiological Guidelines for Food" by the CFS, states it is potentially injurious to health or unfit for human consumption if more than 100,000 of Bacillus cereus per gram of food is detected.

"The manufacturer concerned was issued with a warning and, upon CFS' advice, decided to suspend sale and production of the two affected products in order to review and improve the production process,” said the spokesman.

“The manufacturer has also initiated a recall of other batches of the two affected bean milk products. In the interests of safety, the manufacturer will also suspend sale and production of other drinks manufactured by the same production line and will recall respective products.”

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Juice Drinks, Dairy Drinks