A spate of salmonella cases in the UK during the last three months was likely due to contaminated chocolate from Cadbury Schweppes, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) today revealed.
The agency assessed people who had contracted the disease between March and July and concluded that 36 of the 56 reported cases were attributable to products from the firm after 13 people said they had eaten chocolate that Cadbury's admitted may have been contaminated.
Affected chocolate bars included Dairy Milk Turkish Delight 250g, Dairy Milk Caramel, Dairy Milk Mint bars, the Dairy Milk 8 chunk, Dairy Milk 1kg, Dairy Milk Buttons Easter Egg 105g and Freddo bars.
Last month the chocolate maker said the recall of more than one million bars was simply a precaution, but has since blamed a faulty pipe at its Marlbrook plant for the contamination.
"After carefully considering all the available evidence the outbreak control team concluded that consumption of products made by Cadbury Schweppes was the most credible explanation for the outbreak of salmonella Montevideo," said a statement from the HPA.
The agency has stressed, however, that the outbreak had now been brought firmly under control.
A spokesperson for Cadbury's responded by saying: "We are sorry to hear that people have been unwell. We have already announced that we have changed our protocol because we understood that the consumers' desire for no risk at all is paramount. Any product showing any traces of salmonella will be destroyed."