Cadbury India has announced that it is to change the packaging for its Dairy Milk chocolate bar following last month's allegations that a batch had been infested with insects. The consumer scare is believed to have seriously impacted sales of the nation's leading chocolate bar.
As of January 2004, the packaging for Cadbury's Dairy Milk bars will be completely changed, creating what the company says is an impenetrable wrapper.
Although the move is in direct response to the allegations of infestation, the company continues to deny that its production methods at the Indian facilities are of anything but the highest standards and that there is "absolutely" no way that such an infestation could occur. The company has pointed the finger of blame to distributors, saying that unhygienic storage methods were the likely source of the infestations.
Cadbury India has even posted a public notice on its website, refuting all allegations of the infestation during manufacture.
The statement states that "the manufacture of chocolates involves conching process that takes place at high temperatures (up to 55 C), making it impossible for any infestation to take place during the process.
"Our factory-control samples of each batch of Cadbury Dairy Milk produced over the past few months have been checked and found to be free of any infestation".
Media reports were widespread throughout India on the subject, focusing on a Bombay suburban store where consumers are thought to have purchased a series of contaminated chocolate bars.
"While our current packaging of Cadbury Dairy Milk has proved us in good stead for the past 30 years, we believe that this change will strengthen protection to the bar through complete sealing," Cadbury India managing director Bharat Puri told the Financial Express.
Indian consumers are known to be particularly reactionary to any allegations of foul play by large corporate players. Back in August, a huge furore blew up when an independent consumer organisation tested Pepsi Cola soft drinks, finding them to have dangerously high levels of pesticide.
As with the problems faced by Cadbury India, the allegations were vehemently denied. Government-backed tests that were later carried out proved that a random selection of Pepsi soft drinks were in fact well within Indian standards for pesticide residues.