Companies Cloetta and Göteborgs Kex were also forced to halt production of Smörgåsrån crackers and Sportlunch candy bars following the discovery of the antibiotic chloramphenicol.
According to Sweden’s National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket), however, the levels of chloramphenicol are so low that the substance doesn’t pose a risk to consumers. As a result, no general recall of the products is planned.
Chloramphenicol has been widely used previously as a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It’s inexpensive and can be used to fight a number of different bacteria.
It’s rarely used in Sweden, however, due to known the adverse side-effect of bone marrow toxicity.
Today, chloramphenicol is used primarily to treat eye infections.
Cloetta spokesman Jacob Broberg said the discovery of chloramphenicol at its production facilities can likely be traced to an enzyme used as one of the ingredients.
“What’s seems to have happened is that one of our suppliers has changed producers and that producer didn’t inform the supplier,” he told the TT news agency.
He added that responsibility for ensuring products contain the right ingredients lies with the suppliers, although Cloetta does regular testing as well.
“In this case, we didn’t know exactly what they were looking for, which makes it hard to find it. What was in the enzyme isn’t something we normally look for,” said Broberg.
The enzyme responsible for the chloramphenicol contamination was quickly removed from the production chain, meaning there’s little risk that fans of the crispy chocolate treats will find them hard to come by.