Man finds worms in candy bar, distributor orders candy pulled

PORTLAND, Ore. - Clarence Jackson, of Southeast Portland, discovered something disgusting that prompted a candy bar distributor to order stores to pull the item from their shelves.

The timing couldn't be worse for the candy bar company to have someone find worms in one of its candy bars.

This all started Tuesday when Jackson picked up a Rocky Road candy bar at a local Plaid Pantry store. He likes to eat the candy bars to balance his blood sugar.

At first, he didn't see the worms that were in the candy bar he'd bought. When he opened the wrapper, he did see some white material. He figured it was just some of the marshmallow material the candy bar has inside.

He swallowed the first bite and soon realized something wasn't right with that candy bar.

"Like I said, it didn't taste good, even on the way down. So that really didn't excite me," he told KATU News on Wednesday. "So the next thing I did was pull down some more of the paper on the Rocky Road. And I almost fell out of my seat because then I could see the maggots and all the crap on the top of the other portion of the Rocky Road."

The company that makes Rocky Road candy bars says it doesn't believe the bugs got into the candy during the manufacturing process, because the maggots wouldn't live that long in candy bars that were near their expiration date.

In a statement, company CEO Susan Karl said: "While we are highly vigilant in avoiding problems, it is widely recognized in the food industry that rare incidents do occur from time to time."

The distributor, San Francisco-based Core-Mark, didn't return a phone call for comment.

Plaid Pantry said Core-Mark is calling stores that carried Rocky Road candy bars with a certain expiration date, telling them to take the candy off their shelves.

But there's been no recall for the public that KATU News is aware of and the Rocky Road candy bars involved were distributed out to other stores besides Plaid Pantry.

A spokesman for Plaid Pantry said it has removed all of the candy bars involved from its store shelves.

Company statement:

"As a third generation, family-owned company, Annabelle Candy Company's mission is to ensure consumer satisfaction, enjoyment and well being. We take the quality of our candy products very seriously.

Earlier today Annabelle Candy Company learned that a customer had purchased a candy bar that included bugs inside the package from a store in the Portland, Oregon, area. From our immediate inquiries and investigation, it appears to be an isolated incident. Our representatives immediately went to the store and removed the product from store shelves, as well as making sure that the product was removed from sales circulation.

In addition, we have been in contact with the consumer to personally express our sincere regret on behalf of our company.

We take all consumer complaints seriously, and we do everything in our power to assure the safety and quality of our products while in our hands and en route to our retail customers.

In addition to retrieving all our other candy at the store where purchased, we tested other product manufactured at the same time that we keep at our facility and found no problems with any of those products. Also, an inspection of our pest-control records shows no pest activity in any pheromone traps inside the plant for some years preceding the manufacturing date of this particular bar.

Annabelle's wants to reassure the public about its sanitation standards. Everything possible is done to maintain the highest standards that exceed those required by law. All products are tested daily to ensure their safety and wholesomeness. Our distributors are informed in writing of the shelf lives for all Annabelle's products. They, in turn, inform the retailers.

Annabelle Candy Company produces nearly 15 million Rocky Road candy bars per year. While we are highly vigilant in avoiding problems, it is widely recognized in the food industry that rare incidents do occur from time to time. We emphasize that this in no way represented a life-threatening situation.

Food safety is a top priority and Annabelle Candy Company has implemented stringent inspections and policies to assure the quality and safety of our candy products. We have an excellent food safety record and take all steps to ensure that our products meet the highest standards. We conduct voluntary independent audits of all our procedures and safety practices and comply with all governmental food and safety requirements.

Our main concern is for Annabelle Candy consumers and our retailer customers. We will continue to do everything in our power to make certain that their trust in Annabelle's is well placed."

Susan Karl, President
Annabelle's Candy Company