Packaged counterfeit coffee product with Nestlé brand found in Germany
Major investigation is underway to find the source of a counterfeit product packaged with Nestlé’s brand in Germany which may also contain foreign objects.
According to Nestlé Deutschland, the forged product was packaged in a glass jar that looked like an old version of Nescafé Gold which may contain broken glass and plastic. Nestlé confirmed that the counterfeit product is not from the company and had not used this shape of glass for Nescafé Gold for years and it is not commercially available.
The counterfeit product is known to have been sold at weekly markets and smaller shops but other details about the incident remain unclear. It has an EAN code of 405500210900, batch number 60820814B1 9:15 and best before date of 10-21.
If the above product with EAN code is in case shelved in supermarkets in another country outside Germany, it would be wise to report the exact location to the police and Nestlé with the snapshot of the barcode and the code. Nestlé has contacted the relevant authorities and urged them to investigate and stop the fraud.
“We are shocked by this criminal activity and deeply condemn the fact that our brand has been illegally counterfeited and marketed. The quality and safety of our products is our top priority,” said a company statement.
There's no indication how many jars of the knock-off instant coffee may be in circulation, but there have also been reports of counterfeit jars reaching the Netherlands. A recent alert by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority said that "because the contaminants are larger than 7 mm, which can get stuck in the pharynx when drinking the instant coffee, this batch has been designated as a harmful product and has since been withdrawn from the market."
The incident serves as a reminder that counterfeit food products can make their way into the supply chain of even highly regulated markets.
Nestlé is a Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate corporation headquartered in Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland. It is the largest food company in the world, measured by revenue and other metrics. Nestlé’s products include baby food, medical food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, frozen food, pet foods, and snacks. Twenty-nine of Nestlé's brands have annual sales of over 1 billion CHF (about US$1.1 billion), including Nespresso, Nescafé, Kit Kat, Smarties, Nesquik, Stouffer's, Vittel, and Maggi. Nestlé has 447 factories, operates in 189 countries, and employs around 339,000 people. It is also one of the main shareholders of L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics company.