The renowned candy making company Mars announced on February 23, 2016 that it is recalling chocolate bars and other products in over 50 different countries, primarily in Europe. The company announced the large-scale retraction due to the fear of consumers choking on pieces of plastic.
This recall could cost Mars Inc. billions of dollars in sales, seeing that the company would have to take back colossal amounts of its product that have already been sold and distributed.
The recall was put into effect after a customer encountered a piece of red plastic in his Snickers bar, which was bought in Germany on January 8, 2016. After the customer submitted a complaint to the company, the plastic was traced back to Mars’ factory in the southern town of Veghel, Netherlands.
This is the first time that Mars, which owns many significant brand-names such as M&Ms and Twix, has had to recall items produced in its Dutch factory. The Mars factory in Veghel was established in 1963 and is currently a source of employment to almost 1200 people.
The recently recalled products that are considered unsafe to consume include Mars chocolate bars, Milky Way, Snickers, Celebrations, and Mini Mix. The products are only being recalled in the 55 countries that received shipments from Mars’ factory in the Netherlands.
According to Mars’ corporate affairs coordinator for the Netherlands, Eline Bijveld, approximately four million products are being recalled in the Netherlands alone.
Although it mainly applies to Europe, the recall extends to locations as far as Sri Lanka and Vietnam. It does not apply to the company’s home base in the United States, so chocolate lovers in America can continue to eat their candy in peace.
Freshman Serena Patel said, “I’m glad that Mars isn’t recalling candy bars from America, but I still wonder whether or not this type of problem might have a recurring one that was just overlooked or missed in the past. However, it’s still a little alarming that a customer found plastic in his chocolate because it could have been really dangerous if he hadn’t noticed it.”
After hearing about the recall and the reason behind it, countless people utilized social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to express their concern as well as their annoyance at the company’s recall. They posed questions such as whether or not this was “the Volkswagen scandal” all over again, and many focused their posts on the carelessness of Mars Inc.
Freshman Manav Govil said, “I was partially aggravated when I heard about the Mars recall because many companies that have announced and gone through with recalls of their products have lost the trust of their customers. I know that the presence of the plastic in that man’s Snickers bar was obviously unintentional and that it’s nothing like the fraud and dishonesty of the Volkswagen recall scandal. But even though I like the different Mars products a lot, the chance that this could happen to us in the U.S. makes me a little bit uncertain.”
Recalls of consumer products, especially by large corporations like Mars, can do significant damage to a company’s financial situation and discredit its reputation. For instance, the famous chocolate producer Cadbury recalled almost one million chocolate bars in 2006 after a salmonella outbreak, resulting in a huge loss of the company’s profits. Nestle’s 2015 recall of its Maggi noodles from India after discovering large amounts of lead in a package also had detrimental effects, causing the company to lose many of its customers.
Nevertheless, Mars believes that this is an isolated, one-time occurrence, and has ensured that the decision to recall has been made because it takes food safety and quality very seriously.
How do you feel about buying Mars Inc. products after this recall?