DFS pulls three Mars products off shelves

Mars chocolate bars were among the products hit by chocolate maker Mars' global precautionary recall of products on Tuesday after a customer in Germany found a piece of red plastic in a Snickers bar last month.
Mars chocolate bars were among the products hit by chocolate maker Mars' global precautionary recall of products on Tuesday after a customer in Germany found a piece of red plastic in a Snickers bar last month.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Store's move comes amid global scare over case of tainted chocolate bar in Germany

A duty-free store here has removed three types of Mars chocolate products from its shelves amid a global scare after a customer in Germany found a piece of red plastic in a Snickers bar last month.

DFS, which has outlets in Changi Airport and Orchard Road, said it pulled Mars Minis, Celebrations and Mini Variety packs following chocolate maker Mars' precautionary recall on Tuesday. The affected products were made in the Netherlands and have expiry dates between October and next January.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore issued a recall of Dutch-made Mars products on Wednesday night, and warned the public not to eat them. It is not known how many stores stock the affected items, which were manufactured between Dec 5 last year and Jan 18 this year.

Mars announced a recall on Tuesday, deeming its chocolate bars, including Snickers and Milky Way, to be possibly unsafe for consumption in over 50 countries.

The DFS spokesman added: "We are in close communication with Mars as the situation develops. We will take further precautionary steps as necessary to ensure the safety of our customers."

Supermarkets FairPrice and Cold Storage said they do not carry the affected Mars products. But suppliers and retailers who get their stock from third-party importers may carry the Dutch-made confectionery.

Among them are Radha Exports, which supplies to ABC Bargain Centre and ValuDollar shop, and Walson Food Distributor, which supplies to several hotels and cafes.

Both companies said their products are not among those affected.

Products brought in by Mars' distributor here, DKSH Singapore, are imported from China, Australia, and the United States.

Food safety expert Jorgen Schlundt, who teaches at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), said plastic in food may cause choking. Referring to "foreign bodies" being found in food, he added: "Such incidents are generally not as serious as cases of microbiological or chemical contamination of food."

Professor William Chen, director of NTU's food science and technology programme, warned that additives found in many plastic materials, including packaging, are toxic to the body.

Customer service agent Sangari Subramaniam, 27, threw away her Snickers bar yesterday after realising it was Dutch-made. She said: "I might think twice before purchasing Mars chocolates."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2016, with the headline 'DFS pulls three Mars products off shelves'. Print Edition | Subscribe