Potato salad

A mass recall of potato salad and ready meals manufactured by Swancote Foods last year cost the business almost £600,000, owner Produce Investments has revealed.

Some 45 own-label ready meals and salad dish lines sold by Tesco and Sainsbury’s were recalled last May over fears of metal contamination at the Telford-based potato processing business, which is part of Produce Investments’ Greenvale potato group.

The supplier blamed the failure of a part in one of its blanchers as the cause of the contamination, and subsequently changed “a number of processes and are working closely with our affected customers to restore full supply and regain confidence”, confirmed Produce Investments CEO Angus Armstrong last October.

The supplier announced today (11 August) that after concluding investigations with its insurers and affected customers that the incident would cost it £571,000, which would be included in its financial statements for the year ending 25 June 2016 as an exceptional item. Swancote had previously estimated the financial impact of the incident could have been as high as £1.5m.

Despite the recall, Produce Investments reported an increase in operating profits of almost £1m during the six months to 26 December 2015, with trading remaining “robust” during the following six months, it said this week. The supplier is expecting its full year results on 29 September to be “in line with market expectations”.