Cadbury has said it will consider compensating victims of salmonella poisoning after health officials named its chocolate as the prime suspect for an outbreak earlier this year.

The Health Protection Agency concluded that consumption of infected Cadbury’s products was the "most credible explanation" for 37 cases of salmonella poisoning reported between March and July this year.

The Food Standards Agency and local authorities are considering a prosecution for breach of health and safety legislation against Cadbury, who took five months to inform the agency that salmonella had infected chocolate crumb at its Marlbrook plant in Herefordshire in January.

Cadbury said in a statement: "Clearly we regret that people have been unwell. We have already announced that we have changed our protocol [scrapping the company’s previous policy that chocolate with low levels of salmonella was safe to sell] because for us the consumer’s desire for no risk at all is paramount and any product showing any traces of salmonella will be destroyed."