Unilever/Telma Fined NIS 600K Over Salmonella Scare

An employee arranges cereal boxes for sale at a supermarket in Yerushalayim. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Unilever, the producer of Telma cornflakes, has declined to continue with a hearing process on charges that it fraudulently misled consumers, claiming that there was no problem with its product – when in fact the company knew that there were thousands of boxes of salmonella-infected cornflakes on the market. Unilever has decided to pay a NIS 600,000 fine over the matter.

The Telma cornflakes scandal broke out last July, when the company was forced to recall and destroy thousands of boxes of cereal. Originally, the company claimed that it had caught all the infected boxes before they were shipped to stores. The company advertised that all its products on the market were safe, and that there was no need for consumers to be concerned. However, just days later the company recalled most of the cornflakes on the market, as it turned out that they had been infected as well.

As a result, the company was fined by the Consumer Protection Authority. Unilever could have disputed the matter or asked for a hearing, but chose not to. With that, the company wrote in a letter to the Authority that its decision to pay the fine did not mean that it was admitting wrongdoing.

The cornflakes infection was the first of a wave of salmonella and listeria scares that caused the recall and destruction of tens of thousands of products, including hummus, salads, canned goods, smoked fish and others.