Dairy Crest faces £5m costs following Clover recall

Dairy Crest faces costs of £5m after it was forced to withdraw two million tubs of Clover butter that may be contaminated with mould.

The processor ordered the spread to be removed from supermarket shelves after it received 130 complaints about mould over the past week.

Dairy Crest said the mould, caused by “an intermittent fault” in production, affected all sizes of tubs of spread with best before dates up to 10 August 2007.

The recall is set to cost an estimated £5m, £4m of which Dairy Crest said would be covered by insurance.

In as statement, Dairy Crest said the mould can develop an unpleasant taste “due to the development of a mould most commonly found in blue cheeses.”

No other products had been affected by the recall, it added.

Production at Dairy Crest’s Shropshire factory was halted while it was ‘stripped down’ to find the cause of the contamination. However, the spread is expected to be back on sale by the end of the week.

Market analysts said the recall of Clover, which accounts for about 25% of Dairy Crest’s operating profits, was likely to to negatively affect sales.

“The clover recall is not related to health concerns but is a question of product quality,” one city analyst said. “To our minds the idea of a mould infection paints a picture of poor hygiene standards in consumer’s minds.”