• Germany edition
 
Lidl pays €1.5m for deadly cheese delay
Photo: DPA

Lidl pays €1.5m for deadly cheese delay

Published: 16 Jan 2013 10:36 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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The court ruled that Lidl should have not only withdrawn the product earlier - by the end of 2009 at the latest - but also should have issued an immediate recall, and fined the supermarket €1.5 million for failing to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.

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
View from Germany
Refugee photo shocks and shames Germany
Photo: DPA/Police

Refugee photo shocks and shames Germany

A photo appearing to show a refugee being abused at a home for asylum seekers has caused outrage in Germany. The photo has been compared to those from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Police are now investigating six cases of abuse at three different centres. READ  

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack
An investigator gives a sniffer dog the scent of an object found at the scene. Photo: DPA

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack

Investigators believe a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Reichstag building in Berlin early on Monday morning was the work of a far-right group, a police spokeswoman said on Tuesday. READ  

Unemployment rate stagnates in September
Photo: DPA

Unemployment rate stagnates in September

Unemployment in Germany stagnated in September, as clouds continue to build over Europe's biggest economy, official data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission
A Bundeswehr Patriot missile in southern Turkey. Photo: DPA

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission

A shortage of trained troops caused more embarrassment for Germany's military on Tuesday when it emerged that more than one in four soldiers taking part in a Nato mission in Turkey are not getting their allotted time off between deployments. READ  

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin
Spielberg (l), Amy Ryan (c) and Tom Hanks (r). Photo: DPA

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin

Director Steven Spielberg is to shoot his next film in Germany, the Berlin-Brandenburg Film Board announced on Monday. The Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan director is turning his attention to a Cold War spy thriller. READ  

Lufthansa pilots start Frankfurt strike
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots start Frankfurt strike

The fourth pilots’ strike in recent weeks hit Germany’s biggest airport on Tuesday morning, with long-haul Lufthansa flights grounded at Frankfurt. READ  

EU may drop Russian gas, Merkel warns
Chancellor Merkel with Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb in Berlin on Monday. Photo: DPA

EU may drop Russian gas, Merkel warns

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that Germany and Europe may have to review their energy cooperation with Russia in the long-term if the Ukraine standoff does not abate. READ  

3,000 refugees arrive at Munich station
Munich's Hauptbahnhof. Photo: DPA

3,000 refugees arrive at Munich station

More than 3,000 refugees, including hundreds of children, have arrived at Munich’s central train station over the past few weeks, according to police. READ  

Deutsche Bahn freezes most ticket prices
Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bahn freezes most ticket prices

Germany’s train operator Deutsche Bahn on Monday attempted to take the fight to cheap coach services, which have eaten into its market share, by freezing the price of second class tickets. READ  

Bavarian independence becomes reality online
Christian Söder at the Los Angeles headquarters of ICANN in April. Photo: DPA

Bavarian independence becomes reality online

Starting on Tuesday, people and businesses in Bavaria will be able to use web addresses with the domain .bayern, ending the Free State's online subjection to the Federal Republic of Germany. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Munich
Brit raped at Oktoberfest while going to toilet
Photo: DPA
National
Revealed: Germany's military feet of clay
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
Photo: Shutterstock
Society
Quiz: How good is your German?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Thousands take to Berlin's streets for marathon
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germans look to UK to liven up Parliament
Photo: DPA
Society
'Incest should be legal,' says ethics board
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten noises that sound very different in German
Photo: DPA
Society
QUIZ: Can you pass the German citizenship test?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
How to become an au pair in Germany
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,154
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd