As I mentioned the other day, it is still not safe for veggies to eat any Masterfoods products again just yet.
The Guardian follows up on the above linked story:
Mars backs down but vegetarians left baffled
Monday May 21, 2007
The company behind some of Britain’s top-selling chocolate bars has admitted many of its well known brands will remain unsuitable for vegetarians, despite reversing a decision to use animal extracts in its products.
While Mars UK has backflipped over the use of animal extracts in some of its chocolate confectionery – including Mars and Snickers bars – ingredients used in its other products, such as Twix, Bounty, Celebrations, Topic and Milky Way, will not be changed, meaning they will continue to be unsuitable for vegetarians.
A week-long campaign by vegetarians prompted Mars UK to admit it had become “very clear, very quickly” that it had been a mistake to change the variety of whey used in Mars, Snickers, Maltesers and Galaxy bars from a vegetarian source to one with traces of rennet, an animal enzyme which is taken from the stomachs of calves.
But with hundreds of thousands of chocolate bars containing the new ingredients already thought to be on the shelves and the company ruling out a recall, Mars has had to admit it cannot tell vegetarian consumers exactly when its bars will be safe to eat.
“The position is highly confused,” said Annette Pinner, chief executive of the Vegetarian Society, who has been in talks with Mars UK over the weekend. “We need to know what’s going to be vegetarian – and when it’s going to be vegetarian.”
While welcoming the U-turn, she added: “We really want clarity. That’s what is important so that people know Mars can be trusted.”
Mars UK began using animal products in chocolates produced at its factory in Slough, Berkshire, on May 1.
Within a week of the decision being announced, more than 6,000 people had called and emailed the multinational’s switchboard, which usually receives 500 comments a week. More than 40 MPs also signed a petition to voice their disapproval.
With uncertainty over which of the country’s most popular chocolate bars vegetarians can actually eat, the advice from the company last night appeared far from simple.
Bars produced in the UK which are stamped with a “best before” date after October 1 2007 may contain animal rennet. But the company could not say precisely which best-before dates will contain animal extracts.
Customers unsure about the vegetarian suitability of any given bar are advised to call the company’s consumer care telephone number, and will receive a refund if they are unsatisfied with their product, the company said.
In an advert taken out in several national newspapers today, Mars UK’s managing director, Fiona Dawson, apologises to consumers. “We made a mistake,” she says in a signed open letter. “We apologise. The customer is our boss. Therefore we listen to you and your feedback.”
Promising “a selection of your favourite brands” to be made suitable for vegetarians in the “near future”, she adds: “We will keep you informed of our progress against this commitment – expect to hear from us soon.”
She told the Guardian the decision to revert to vegetarian-friendly whey for a selection of lines had been customer-led, but indicated there had not been a boycott.
“There’s been no impact on sales – this has been about getting feedback from people who love our product,” she said.
I would say, because of this uncertainty to not buy any of their products and keep a look out and purchase the (better) alternatives.
There wasn’t an impact on their profits… yet. But there will be until they get all this sorted out.