The New Zealand Herald reports that sausage-maker Hellers has been fined almost $40,000 and ordered to pay $15,000 to three children after they suffered allergic reactions to mispackaged sausages.
The children became sick after an incident in September 2017 when staff at Hellers’ Wiri, New Zealand factory did not follow procedures, resulting in Cheese Sizzlers being packaged as Original Sizzlers.
One child ended up in hospital due to an anaphylactic reaction.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) prosecuted the company following an investigation.
Manager of food compliance Melinda Sando said the incident could have been prevented if staff had cross-checked labels and the product itself before packing.
“Cheese Sizzlers were sent to market packaged as Original Sizzlers, which did not have cheese included in the ingredient list. They were distributed to various outlets, including supermarkets,” she said.
“Three children who were allergic to milk complained of allergic reactions after consuming the mispackaged sausages.
“One had a moderate reaction, one a moderate to severe reaction and one a severe anaphylactic reaction that required hospital treatment.”
Following these reports from the public, Hellers initiated a recall of the affected product.
Prior to sentencing, Hellers pleaded guilty to one Food Act 2014 charge of failing to ensure food is safe and suitable.
A reserved judgment by District Court Judge J Bergseng was released late yesterday.
The company was fined $39,375 and ordered to pay $5000 to each of the three victims together with court costs of $130.