10 May 2007 | Antony Barton
The charges Cadbury faces over its salmonella outbreak serve as a reminder that too much is taken for granted in supply chains, according to an expert.
Andrew Fearne, director of the Centre for Supply Chain Research at Kent Business School, said it was a "wake-up call" for food manufacturers. As supply chains become more complex and globally-integrated, he said, the potential for things to go wrong will increase: "When you have big brand names such as Cadbury falling foul of that complexity, it reminds us how important it is to devote sufficient resources to ensuring we have supply chains that are robust and resilient."
Cadbury's salmonella outbreak last summer cost the company £30 million and up to 37 people fell ill after eating its products (News, 4 January)
It faces three charges: marketing chocolate products unsafe to eat; failing to immediately inform authorities when it first suspected contamination; failing to identify hazards from ready-to-eat chocolate products contaminated with salmonella; critical control points and corrective actions. Each offence carries a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine.
Cadbury said it had fully co-operated with the authorities during their inquiries.