Unilever factory good practice certificate suspended in cereal contamination scare

By Vince Bamford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever's Arad factory produces products including Telma brand cereal
Unilever's Arad factory produces products including Telma brand cereal

Related tags: Public health, Manufacturing

Israeli health chiefs have suspended the Good Manufacturing Practice certificate at a Unilever factory after potentially contaminated breakfast cereal was sent out to retailers.

The suspension follows Unilever last month​ halting production of Telma brand cornflakes at the factory in Arad after a routine microbiological test found a bacterial contaminant.

At that time, the company said no contaminated products had left its warehouse and that it had since resumed production.

But the company has now admitted 240 packs of contaminated product did leave the factory and reached stores – prompting Israeli health officials to carry out an inspection at the Telma factory at the weekend.

Tests carried out at factory

Led by Professor Itamar Grotto, head of Israel’s Public Health Service, and National Food Service director Eli Gordon, investigators tested manufacturing processes and quality control procedures and took samples from production lines.

The Ministry of Health said Unilever co-operated fully with the investigation.

Following the factory visit, the Israeli health minister has suspended the plant's GMP certificate for some corrective measures to be taken, said Unilever.

The company added that it is continuing to manufacture as normal at the site and will improve quality control at the factory to get the GMP quality certification reinstated.

Working with external investigators

Unilever told this site that a “thorough  investigation​” was under way – including work with third-party investigators – to establish how the contaminated cereal was distributed to stores.

Unilever operates in full cooperation with the health ministry and will implement all its recommendations and conclusions​,” added Unilever in a statement.

The Ministry of Health said it will continue to monitor the situation and conduct follow-up investigations, including further laboratory tests.

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