It all started in January when Cadbury found a leak at its factory in Marlbrook and sent contaminated chocolate for tests at a Health Protection Agency laboratory. A rare strain of salmonella was spotted but it was not until June when the HPA investigated a nationwide rise in the number of cases of that strain that the FSA was alerted. More than one million chocolate bars were recalled. Cadbury suspended its sponsorship of Coronation Street and delayed the launch of a premium Dairy Milk extension.
In July Cadbury sales were down 25% at supermarkets, with Cadbury later stating the scare had cost £30m. Six months on, Cadbury is awaiting the results of an investigation by Birmingham City Council as to whether it faces prosecution.