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The recall costs contributed to a £7.8m pre-tax loss

First milk’s cheese recall last December cost it £1.1m in uninsured charges, the dairy co-operative’s latest annual accounts have revealed.

First Milk recalled some batches of own-label mild Cheddar and Red Leicester from Asda, The Co-operative Groupand Morrisons last year, over fears they might contain pieces of metal.

At the time, it downplayed the issue. But this week, in accounts for the year to 31 March 2013, it admitted: “We incurred exceptional costs of £1.1m relating to the uninsured element of charges arising from a product recall during the year.”

A First Milk spokesman added that it had received a “substantial recovery” from the insurance policies it had.

The recall costs contributed to exceptional charges of £7m and a £7.8m pre-tax loss for the year. However, accounts for the six months to 30 September 2013, also revealed this week, show an improvement, with pre-tax profits of £1.1m (compared with £100,000 for the same period in 2012) on turnover up 17.3% to £279.8m.

The recall was prompted when First Milk found a piece of metal in a 20kg block of Cheddar at its Haverfordwest creamery.

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