Over the past 12 months Allied Bakeries has been hit with at least five deliberate cases ofmalicious tampering of its bakery products. The company reported that over the past weeks, it hasreceived five complaints involving fragments of glass or sewing needles in its Kingsmill slicedbread brand.
The company believes that the objects are inserted into the packaging after the baking process,but police have so far not determined whether the tampering is happening inside the factory or in thesupply chain.
The company first alerted police about the problem in July last year, when pieces of glass andneedles were first discovered in packs of Kingsmill products products at its Orpington bakery inKent.
The Orpington bakery distributes to retailers across the south east of England, includingBookers, Iceland, Londis, Sainsbury's, Spar, Tesco and a variety of smaller retail outlets.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the police are investigating the new incidents. At an FSAboard meeting last week, the regulator noted that the company started implementing extra securitymeasures to eliminate the chance of tampering ever since the incidents began occurring.
The contaminants were just under the wrapping and not actually in the loaves, indicating that they had been put in after the bread had beenproduced, stated the FSA's director of enforcement, David Statham.
"These particular incidents have occurred following a period of approximately six months without anycomplaint," Statham told the board. "It was hoped that extra security measures, including the introduction of tamper-evident packaging on the bread, had actually resolved this problem, but it would now appear that's not the case."
He also mentioned that the FSA had received information suggesting that the company might have had some additional complaints. Allied Bakeries' produces about 2.5 million loaves of its Kingsmill sliced bread each week.
Since the tampering began police have taken DNA tests of each of the 300 staff at the plant,according to UK press reports. The firm has also introduced tamper-proof seals on packaging.
It has also installed CCTV monitors in the production area. Officers have also been working covertly at the bakery. Checks on staff leaving and entering the building have alsoincreased, the Times newspaper reported.
In addition to needles and glass, consumers have also found chewing gum, plastic discs and a piece ofcloth inside its packs of bread.