Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Watch what's in your chocolate...

A gross story forwarded by my cousin, originally posted here:

Pregnant woman finds maggots in chocolate

Mar 10, 2007

Chris Traber, Staff Writer

(Markham) - How sweet it isn't.

Brian Diamond's pregnant daughter, Nicola, received a couple of boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates for Christmas.

After opening her third treat, she noticed the confectionery was covered in an odd web. Closer inspection revealed a live maggot-like grub.

She checked the previous two wrappers and found a similar web-like substance.

She experienced stomach upset and diarrhea and was afraid it could have harmed her baby.

A doctor advised she could have E. coli, possibly botulism or could develop intestinal parasites. Lab tests were ordered and later confirmed she had no long-term health problems.

On Jan. 2, Mr. Diamond spoke to a representative of the candy manufacturer and asked how to determine the product's expiry date.

A complex code indicated both boxes were manufactured in Brazil and had expired in the summer of 2005, almost a year and a half before they were purchased in downtown Toronto.

The Markham computer executive wanted to know how a product so far past its expiry date entered the country and was sold.

In the ensuing weeks, Mr. Diamond engaged in a telephone and e-mail campaign with Ferrero Rocher, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

To his dismay, he discovered the manufacturer wasn't obligated by law to recommend a "sell-by" date. Health Canada's jurisdiction is focused on food manufactured in Canada.

Both Ferrero Rocher and the federal agency picked up samples of the candy by mid-January.

Tests conducted at Guelph University by the manufacturer confirmed the presence of an Indian meal moth, "a common pantry pest found worldwide".

Agency lab results concluded the product contained moth larvae and feces, web cocoons and both live and dead chrysalis, the pupal stage of the moth.

Ferrero Rocher offered Mr. Diamond coupons for more chocolate. He refused. The company offered him $500, which he also refused.

"I told them the decimal point was in the wrong place," Mr. Diamond said. "I would have settled for $5,000 and to know what checks and balances are in place so that I will know it's safe to buy their candies again.

"It boggles the mind. I've been in consumer products all my life. If a customer complains, you listen and fix it. They were so blasÈ and cavalier. They just don't care."

Several telephone calls to Ferrero Rocher were not returned to the Economist & Sun.

"I want to create public awareness about your exposure to contaminated products like this," he said.

He has kept the product samples at his Unionville home.

If he doesn't get satisfaction, Mr. Diamond said he will create a personal website linked to consumer web bases to share his experience.

"I might put the product on eBay and sell it as a personal maggot farm," he said.

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