White baking chocolate tainted with salmonella latest U.S. food scare

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In yet another food scare in the United States salmonella is again involved, this time the culprit is baking chocolate.

This is the third chocolate-related salmonella warning this year.

The contaminated chocolate is Baker’s Premium White Chocolate Baking Squares which are produced by Kraft Foods.

The concern centers around 6 oz. 288,000 packages of the squares with a UPC Code 0043000252200 and the best used by dates of: 31 MAR 2008 XCZ, 01 APR 2008 XCZ, 02 APR 2008 XCZ and 03 APR 2008 XCZ.

These products were distributed nationwide and consumers should not consume the recalled product and should discard any they may have.

The potential contamination was found following testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that detected the presence of salmonella in some packages of the white chocolate squares.

Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, and can create life-threatening infections in people with weakened immune systems.

Kraft says it has received no reports of consumers getting ill from the affected baking squares which were made in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, in a factory operated by Swiss company Barry Callebaut, the world's largest chocolate-maker.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) foods contaminated with salmonella usually look and smell fine and consumers need to bear this in mind.

Last year British chocolate company Cadbury also recalled about one million chocolate bars because of a salmonella outbreak, which was eventually traced to a factory where wastewater was leaking from a pipe.

That outbreak cost the company $2 million in fines and another $41 million to avoid the problem recurring.

Another outbreak also last year, involving chocolate-maker Hershey forced a major recall in Canada and shut down its Smith Falls, Ontario, plant for three weeks after salmonella was detected there; however no illnesses were reported.

Earlier this year in the U.S. salmonella contaminated Peter Pan peanut butter and some sickened 400 people nationwide and Veggie Booty, a popular snack food, was recalled after 61 people in 19 states were sickened.

The latest recall only concerns Baker’s Premium White Chocolate Baking Squares (6 oz.) and no other varieties of Baker’s White Chocolate or any other Baker’s products sold in the United States are affected by the recall.

Kraft is apparently investigating the source of the problem.

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