More than a million chocolate bars were recalled last June after an outbreak of salmonella was linked to a leaking pipe at its factory in Herefordshire.
At Birmingham Crown Court, the recorder James Guthrie QC said: “I regard this as a serious case of negligence. It therefore needs to be marked as such to emphasise the responsibility and care which the law requires of a company in Cadbury's position.”
Cadbury apologised for the incident, adding in a statement: “Quality has always been at the heart of our business but the process we followed in this instance has been shown to be unacceptable.”
Cadbury shares remained unaffected by the news as analysts reasoned that the fine would have little financial impact on the company.
“The real damage is to the trading bottom line,” Martin Deboo, an analyst at Investec Securities told the Financial Times. “Given that Cadbury has not yet recovered last year's loss of market share, the pain looks set to continue for a while yet.”