Food giant Strauss extended the recall of its chocolate products to its entire confectionary product line on Wednesday, following preliminary tests indicating that more items than previously thought may have been tainted with salmonella.
The new recall includes Elite chocolate, waffles and cakes and grain-coated cereal snacks from the Energy brand, gum and toffee candies — regardless of expiration date. This comes after the results of tests indicated the presence of salmonella bacteria in products marketed to the public.
While the company stressed that these were preliminary results of only two tests out of several hundred being conducted, it decided not to wait for the final results, in light of the widespread criticism it had received for delaying its initial recall.
Strauss, one of Israel's largest food manufacturers, knew about the salmonella outbreak for almost a week before it issued a recall for the majority of its chocolate snacks on Monday.
Haaretz found that Strauss received initial test results of salmonella contamination during Passover, almost a week ago. After the results were received, the company had begun testing its final products, and learned that some may contain salmonella on Sunday.
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The Health Ministry was notified about the issue on the eve of Passover – but the products were only recalled on Monday.
Strauss stated that both the raw chocolate and the final products in which salmonella was found are "blocked" – meaning still at the production factory in the Galilee or at the logistics center. The company doesn't know how many, or if any, contaminated products were sold to customers.
Strauss added it didn't recall the products before making sure that there might be a problem with them, and acted responsibly by conducting the largest recall the company had ever initiated. The company said it worked in coordination with the Health Ministry.
The company stated that it had notified the Health Ministry and called on the public not to consume the affected products.
When the salmonella bacterium invades the intestines, it causes the disease salmonellosis. Symptoms of the illness include diarrhea along with stomach pain, cramping, a high fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and sometimes joint pain and difficulty urinating. The symptoms surface between six and 72 hours of exposure to the bacterium and the disease generally lasts from two days to a week.
According to media reports, there have been several possible cases of salmonella poisoning in Israel in recent days.