July 1, 2005

Australia recall for Mars and Snickers after threat

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The manufacturers of Snickers and Marschocolate bars announced a product recall in Australia's NewSouth Wales state on Friday after a threat to contaminate thechocolate snack bars.

Masterfoods Australia New Zealand, an umbrella managementorganization for privately held U.S. company Mars Inc., said athreat had been made to poison a member of the public withtampered chocolate bars.

The company was withdrawing tens of thousands of Snickersand Mars bars from 5,500 retail outlets in New South Walesstate, Masterfoods president Andy Weston-Webb said.

"Our one and only concern is public safety, public health,"Weston-Webb told reporters.

"No one should eat a Mars or Snickers bar that they havebought. Please destroy it ... it is not safe to eat Mars orSnickers bars," he said.

Police said tests showed a Snickers bar posted toMasterFoods' head office in the rural center Ballarat lastmonth had been contaminated with an unidentified substance.

The company had received three threatening letters, thelatest on Friday, in which the author claimed to havecontaminated seven Snickers and Mars bars in Sydney.

"The substance of these letters were ramblings and theexact intent is not known," police superintendent Peter Cotterof the New South Wales serious crime unit told reporters.

"There is a foreign contaminant definitely within the bar.As to what that substance is, chemically or physically, we arenot aware," he said.

Masterfoods products include chocolate bars, pet food andpre-packaged meals.