Chocolate Santa Recall Issued By Co-Op After Batteries Found Inside Foil Covered Figures

A chocolate Santa recall has been issued by a grocery chain after small watch batteries were found inside two of the hollow foil covered figures.

According to the BBC, the Co-operative Group or the Co-op, a collective of diverse retail businesses in the United Kingdom, announced the nationwide recall will involve 165,000 of the chocolate Santas.

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The Co-op’s website released a statement regarding the urgent product recall which reads, “The Co-op is urgently recalling its hollow milk chocolate Santa foil figures after two alleged tampering incidents.”

A spokesperson with the Co-op told The Independent that the group is assuming that someone put the small batteries inside the hollow chocolate Santas “deliberately.”

Additionally, the Co-op website includes a statement from its spokesperson.

“The health and safety of our customers is our top priority. We are concerned about two separate instances of alleged product tampering involving our hollow milk chocolate Santa foil figures, which have been found to contain a small battery inside. As a result we have begun a UK-wide product recall. The police and Food Standards Agency are being notified. We are investigating the matter and will be involving the relevant authorities to help. Customers with one of these products should not eat it but call our customer relations team for a full refund.”

The statement further indicates that no other products were impacted by these tampering incidences. The chocolate Santas were made in Germany and cost about £1 or about $1.23 each.

ITV reports that the Co-op stated there is no indication of “any blackmail demand or threat” related to the batteries found in the two chocolate Santas.

The chocolate Santas that appear to have been tampered with were purchased at two different locations, one being in Essex and the other in Suffolk. The BBC reports the Co-op believes the foil figures were tampered with after leaving the factory where they were manufactured.

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According to the BBC, Lithium button batteries can be deadly when swallowed by very young children. These batteries can become lodged in the throat or esophagus and actually burn through its lining. The larger the battery the quicker the damage can take place. The BBC reports that the most serious cases of damage have taken place when batteries are more than 20mm in size. In such cases, major injury can occur within just two hours.

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This is not the first incident of candy tampering to take place in 2016. In October of this year, police in Charlottetown, a city in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, investigated reports of razor blades found in a chocolate candy bar, according to the CBC.

After a Halloween event in New Haven, Connecticut, in late October, police were alerted to a possible box of tampered candy. A fun size box of DOTS appeared to have been opened and then glued shut. Clinton Police Spokesperson Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn noted that DOTS typically come in assorted colors, but when this particular box was opened, it contained only red DOTS, according to the New Haven Register. It is unclear if anything untoward had been done to the candy itself.

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Just weeks ago, during the Joplin Christmas Parade in Joplin, Missouri, police officers were alerted to a possible incident of tampering. A woman told authorities that her son had been given candy as the parade commenced, which contained a pill, reports Four States.

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Mid-December, two people in separate instances reported food tampering to Halifax Police in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. According to the Herald News, a young girl was finishing up her leftover Halloween candy and when she bit into a chocolate bar, she found a sewing needle. Fortunately, the 9-year-old was uninjured. Nevertheless, only 30 minutes later, a Halifax man alerted police he found a thumbtack in his cereal while chewing, but was not hurt.

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