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Old 18-10-2003, 10:28 PM
Dr. Jai Maharaj
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Cadbury's: Worms now, bird then

By T. N. Raghunatha, in Mumbai
The Pioneer
Saturday, October 18, 2003

It is not the first time that Cadbury chocolates are
found to be contaminated. As consumer complaints now
continue about worm infestation in chocolate bars, a
shocking internal report dwells upon a much more severe
incident of a dead bird having contaminated the chocolate
line at the company's Malanpur plant a few years ago.

An internal report submitted by the chocolate major's
corporate legal counsel Shivanand Sanadi - a copy of
which is in possession of The Pioneer - reveals that a
fitter had reported on July 17, 1998 the presence of "a
bird leg and feathers" in the pumping system of
chocolates for the 'Perk' line, leading to a full-fledged
inquiry and analysis of affected chocolate samples.

Among other things, the report states that the "high
extent" of contamination indicated that the bird might
have been trapped for some days prior to its sighting and
hence a decision was taken to remove and freeze all the
chocolates as well as products on the affected line.

When contacted repeatedly, Cadbury India Ltd skirted the
1998 internal report and faxed a statement on behalf of
its managing director Bharat Puri, saying: "Cadbury does
not allow any contaminated product to leave its
factories. All our manufacturing and Quality Assurance
Systems are geared towards this end." It, however, does
not deny that such an internal report exists.

As stated in that report, the sequence of events that
followed the sighting of "a bird leg and feathers" was:
"The particular chocolate line was immediately taken out
of the operation. The chocolate was drained from the line
and flushed with cocoa butter and the hopper and pump
were cleaned. The chocolate transfer resumed through the
line on July 18, after localised cleaning."

"Meanwhile, the QA laboratory had collected chocolate
samples from the affected line and pump, before cleaning,
to assess if any microbiological contamination could have
occurred. The chocolate so removed from the line as well
as the pieces of birds were incinerated, as waste," the
report said.

"Considering that chocolate was available in all
downstream storage vessels, the production of Perk
continued. However, as a precaution, all Perk FG stocks
in the warehouse were held-up pending investigation."

The report goes on to reveal: "The results of the
chocolate samples analysed on the night of July 22, 1998,
revealed a micro-biological contamination and a decision
was taken on July 23 to suspend all operations on the
Perk line."

It took 10 days for the company to empty all the lines
and vessels and clean them with soap, hypochloride and
cocoa butter. Production resumed only after certification
of sterility of the equipment.

Meanwhile, an analysis of FG and chocolate from the
vessels confirmed the contamination of the product and
chocolate that had been taken out from the storage
vessels from July 16, 1998 - a day before the actual
sighting of a "bird leg and feathers."

"Hence, the chocolate from these vessels and cocoa butter
used for cleaning was also burnt down. The FG was frozen
and isolated in the warehouse, destruction pending excise
department's permission and check by surveyors," the
report states. It adds that the total FG contaminated was
38 tonnes, while 14.4 tonnes of chocolate and 2.5 tonnes
of cocoa butter were destroyed.

Read the complete news at:

News Plus

Jai Maharaj
Om Shanti

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