mars čokoladica.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Clive Darra, used under CC BY-SA

The US-based Mars food company issued a recall on Tuesday of several chocolate bar brands in countries around the world after a piece of plastic was found in one of its products.

The recall includes items packaged as Snickers, Mars, Milky Way and Celebration chocolates. A piece of plastic nearly one-half centimetre long was found in one product in Germany, the company said.

Mars issued the voluntary recall, warning of a possible choking hazard.

The recall affects 56 countries, the European Commission said late Tuesday, based on an EU alert issued by the Netherlands, where the chocolate bars were produced.

In a statement to dpa, Mars said after a small piece of red plastic was found in one Snickers bar purchased in Germany the company made a "precautionary decision" to recall a selection of Snickers, Mars, Milky Way and Celebrations products made in its factory in the Netherlands.

The recall affects specific products made at the facility from December 5, 2015, to January 18, 2016, the statement said.

The recall is being implemented in all markets served by the Netherlands facility, which exports to a number of countries and some duty-free outlets.

The company said the easiest way for consumers to determine whether they have a product that has been recalled is to look for the words Mars Netherlands on the label.

"If it is not labeled Mars Netherlands, it is not included in the recall," the statement said.

The company statement didn't specify the number of chocolate bars involved in the recall. A Germany-based spokesman for the company had said earlier that products in question are stamped with a best-before date between June 19, 2016, and January 8, 2017.

The company consciously chose a very long production time frame in order to be certain all chocolates possibly affected are returned, the company said, noting that other products including M&Ms, Balisto and Twix were not affected.

Dutch broadcaster NOS reported that the piece of plastic came from a cover on a production line. The report said the plastic likely got into the chocolate when the line was changed.

The markets served by the factory include all EU countries except Bulgaria and Luxembourg, as well as Algeria, Angola, Australia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, the Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Nepal, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.

Recalls are taking place in the French territories of New Caledonia and Reunion, as well as the Palestinian territories, according to the commission, the European Union's executive.

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