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More infested Cadbury chocolates found

Last updated on: October 14, 2003 11:10 IST

Ten Cadbury chocolate bars were on Monday sent to the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration laboratory in Dadar, Mumbai, for testing whether they contained worms.

The move came three days after the state government expressed satisfaction at the 'hygienic condition' being maintained at the manufacturing unit of Cadbury.

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FDA sources said the chocolates, from a shop in Kurla, central Mumbai, were handed over to police, who in turn deposited them with the FDA at around 1530 IST.

The chocolates were found to have holes in them, they said.

On October 10, Minister of State for Food and Drug Administration Anil Deshmukh had said that the judiciary would decide whether to prohibit the sale of the seized stock.

Meanwhile, FDA Commissioner Uttam Khobragade alleged that Cadbury officials were trying to put political pressure on him.

But "I will not come under any political pressure", he said.

Khobragade said, "Instead of admitting their fault, Cadbury are saying that it's dealer's fault. Why are they forgetting that those are their dealer so it's their responsibility to make the product safe?"

He also said he would not visit the Cadbury factory. "I have no business to visit their factory. What I want is that the products coming into the market should be perfect."

Asked if it was lobbying the government, a Cadbury official told rediff.com: "We reiterate that we will continue to cooperate with the authorities."

She said the company was confident that "our products are of the highest standards".

Asked why Cadbury had not followed the FDA commissioner's suggestion to withdraw its products from the market and repack them, she said, "As a part of our standard procedure we regularly take back any damaged or date expired stocks back from our retailers."

She said the company had not received any intimation about a case being registered against it. "However, we will continue to extend all cooperation to the authorities because like the FDA, Cadbury is also conscious of its commitment to society in general and consumers in particular."

Regarding Deshmukh's visit to the Cadbury plant, she said the minister "inspected the hygiene standards and manufacturing practices adhered to" by the company.

She admitted the controversy would affect the sales during the festival season. "However, we would like to reiterate that all through the 55 years of leadership in India, Cadbury has remained synonymous with chocolates and we have remained committed to high quality and consumer satisfaction."

Vijay Singh in Mumbai