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Consumer body sends bar for test

The Federation of Consumer Associations of West Bengal, the apex body of over 200 consumer groups in the state, will send the worm-infested Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate, bought by a customer from a north Calcutta shop, to its food and water testing laboratory.

“In view of the gravity of the case, we have decided to approach the enforcement branch of police, the consumer affairs and health departments of the state government and also its anti-adulteration cell. We have taken possession of the bar and will be sending it for tests in our laboratory,” Mala Bandyopadhyay, president of the federation, said on Thursday.

After receiving the report — expected in three days — the federation will decide its next course of action. If the product is found fake (Bandyopadhyay is not ruling out the possibility, “as the wrapper doesn't contain manufacturing and expiry dates”), the case will be taken up with the enforcement department. The matter will be taken to the consumer court if the test results indicate any adulteration

As reported in The Telegraph on Wednesday, Gautam Ash, an assistant professor of anatomy at the National Institute of Homoeopathy and a resident of Patipukur, bought five Dairy Milk chocolates from a shop in Jawpur, near Lake Town on Sunday. Worms were seen crawling in one of the chocolates Ash had handed over to Biplab, an employee at his friend Probir Kundu’s hardware shop. Biplab brought the matter to the notice of the members of a local club.

But Cadbury India, in a written statement, backed its product, but promised to probe its storage. “We are confident of the quality of our products leaving our factory. Our focus now is on ensuring that all parts of the storage chain handle and store Cadbury products better,” said Bharat Puri, managing director, Cadbury India.

Cadbury products came under a cloud of suspicion following reports of worm infestation, around three weeks ago, from consumers in Maharashtra. The Food and Drugs Administration department in Maharashtra initiated a probe and ordered prosecution against the multinational.

To avoid further damage to the brand in the festive season, when the product sales soar, Cadbury has announced Project Vishwas — a quality-control mission involving the distribution chain and retail channels — in Maharashtra.

“Proper storage at the retailers’ end is also the company’s responsibility. It’s good that they have tried to address the issue of quality control in Maharashtra. We shall be happy to see the campaign in West Bengal for safety of the consumers here,” observed Bandyopadhyay.

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