• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Lidl pays €1.5m for deadly cheese delay

The Local · 16 Jan 2013, 10:36

Published: 16 Jan 2013 10:36 GMT+01:00

Lidl did not act fast enough in 2009 when the Listeria bacteria were discovered in its Harz cheese, a product of Austrian company Prolactal, said Heilbronn Administrative Court on Tuesday.

The state prosecutor said four customers fell ill with listeriosis after eating the cheese, one of whom later died as a result of the food poisoning.

Listeria is a bacterium - usually eliminated in the pasteurization process - which causes serious infections in humans and can be life-threatening for people suffering from other illnesses, pregnant mothers or new born children.

On hearing that the bacteria had been found in the product, Lidl said it had asked Prolactal for an inspection - and received negative test results. The supermarket removed the cheese from its shelves but failed to recall the product until Austrian authorities issued a warning in late January 2010.

The court ruled that Lidl should have not only withdrawn the product earlier - by the end of 2009 at the latest - but also should have issued an immediate recall, and fined the supermarket €1.5 million for failing to meet its legal obligations.

Four company employees were also singled out to pay fines of between €27,000 and €58,500. However, the court found that Lidl did not bear any legal or criminal responsibility for the illnesses or death caused by the food poisoning.

A Lidl spokesman said the company had at all times met its inspection obligations, but admitted that the reaction had been too slow and accepted Tuesday's court ruling.

"Lidl Germany accepts the court's decision and regrets that the results of the routine inspections carried out three years ago on the product were not correctly interpreted," said a spokesman.

Story continues below…

The ruling came on the same day as Irish authorities said they had found horse meat in burgers sold in several supermarkets in Ireland and Britain - including German discount supermarkets Lidl and Aldi.

DPA/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:47 January 16, 2013 by whiteriver
from http://www.kantarretail.com/News/NewsDisplay.html?id=525846:

"According to LZ.net, Schwarz Group-owned discounter Lidl's profits rose 37% to EUR 1.04 billion in the financial year 2011/12. "

Which means that the 1.5m eur fine makes no difference.
16:33 January 16, 2013 by raandy
This type of corporate misconduct is unconscionable, leaving products on the shelf than were known to cause serious illness or death. In my opinion someone should be doing jail time because of it. I will never shop there again.
17:25 January 16, 2013 by Dalmation
That is me finished with them also. Their fruit and veg is generally half rotten anyway. False economy buying from them as one ends up throwing half it out.
20:09 January 16, 2013 by coffeelover
I have a dog whom I let smell all meat, cheese, even eggs, before I cook. He will turn away if it does not smell ok to him. He is richly rewarded for preventing me from getting sick. I stumbled on his "talent" by accident a few years ago, when I read about a meat recall, checked my stock and found matching numbers, put the meat on table prior to returning, then watched him sniff it, sneeze, and run out of kitchen. Man's best friend in so many ways.
21:20 January 16, 2013 by puisoh
@ coffeelover ....I hope your dog will out-live you then.
07:57 January 17, 2013 by Bingham8
The good thing about Lidl is that the customer can select his own fruit & veg himself. The discerning customer is thus free to select the freshest produce in the box ... and leave the rotten apples for @Dalmation to buy.
09:35 January 17, 2013 by Dalmation
Good luck with that @ Bingham8. Generally the fruit and veg is just about ready to go rotten and it is not until the day after you buy it you realise it. Paying extra and another supermarket or fruit and veg store most often means getting fruit and veg that lasts longer.
Today's headlines
Munich gunman was far-right racist: media reports
Photo: DPA

According to research by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the Munich gunman was proud to have been born on the same day as Hitler and hated Turks and Arabs.

Ansbach suicide attack
Ansbach bomber ‘influenced’ by third person: officials
Photo: DPA

Officials in Bavaria have said that the man who blew himself up in an apparent Islamist attack on Sunday was influenced by an as yet unknown person.

What is the link between the attacks in Germany last week?
Police on guard in Munich. Photo: DPA

And how likely are 'copycat' attacks?

Rights experts call for calm after string of violent attacks
Bavaria has called for soldiers to protect the German border. Photo: DPA

Human rights groups and legal experts are warning the government to react responsibly to the attacks and rampages which have taken place in Germany in recent days.

France church attacker had been arrested in Germany
Photo: DPA

A neighbour described the man as a "ticking time bomb".

Dutch join hunt for German terrorists-turned-outlaws
From left to right: Ernst-Volker Staub, Daniela Klette and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: DPA.

Dutch police on Tuesday told people to be on the lookout for three German far-left militants, at large for decades and suspected of a string of recent heists.

German Olympic champion savages 'pro-doping' IOC
Robert Harting. Photo: DPA

Olympic discus champion Robert Harting on Tuesday launched a verbal attack on compatriot Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, for the IOC's stance on state-run Russian doping.

Man gets life in jail for murder of two young children
Silvio Schulz. Photo: DPA

A former security guard was handed a life sentence Tuesday for murdering two children, one of them a four-year-old Bosnian boy snatched from a crowded migrant registration centre last year.

Munich shooting
German Turks mourn Munich shooting victims
Flowers for the victims. Photo: DPA

Seven of the nine victims were Muslim.

Doctor killed in Berlin hospital shooting: police
Police at the scene in southern Berlin. Photo: DPA

A doctor has died after being shot at a Berlin hospital by an elderly man, Berlin police said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,756
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd