Cadbury endured another week of bad publicity in the wake of last year's salmonella scare - and, despite the conclusion of criminal proceedings against the company, its ordeal is not over yet.

On Monday, the chocolate producer was fined a total of £1m after pleading guilty to distributing chocolate products contaminated with salmonella between January and March last year.

But any relief at the culmination of the trial will have been tempered by the fact that the company still faces civil actions brought by people who claim to have been poisoned with salmonella after eating the chocolate.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell is representing 12 people who claim they were affected by the contaminated chocolate - and confirmed this week it was still pursuing civil cases against the company on their behalf.

No court date had yet been set, as relevant information, such as medical reports, was still being collated.

"Our clients are relieved that Cadbury have pleaded guilty to the charges bought against them, and in doing so accept their responsibility to the public," said Sallie Booth, a partner at Irwin Mitchell.

Cadbury did not instigate a product recall until June 2006 - months after it had discovered the contamination, the source of which was traced to a leaking pipe at its factory in Marlbrook,


Forty-two people reported salmonella poisoning during the intervening period, including a number of children, with three people admitted to hospital.

At Birmingham Crown Court court Cadbury pleaded guilty to three offences of placing unsafe chocolate on the market; failing to inform the authorities; and failing to identify hazards from contaminated chocolate and critical controls to ensure food safety.

The company was fined £700,000 plus £52,000 costs for these offences, brought by Birmingham City Council. It was also fined £300,000 plus costs of £100,000 after pleading guilty to six offences brought by Herefordshire Council.

Cadbury said it had since spent more than £20m on tightening safety procedures and on its production and testing processes since the recall last year.