Simon Baldry, managing director of Cadbury, said there was "no need" to take products off the market when a rare strain of salmonella was found in January. He denied that the rare strain found in the chocolate had anything to do with the fact that the number of cases of people contracting the strain had quadrupled.

Cadbury yesterday announced it was removing more than a million chocolate bars from shop shelves after contamination was detected from a leaking pipe at one of the company’s main factories in Marlbrook, Herefordshire.

Seven of the company’s most popular brands were affected and the public was warned not to eat any products they may have already bought.

More than 250 million Dairy Milk bars are manufactured every year, and researchers have calculated that annual consumption in the UK is the equivalent to 8kg of the famous Cadbury chocolate for each person.

Since the incident, testing has been stepped up and in a further 17,000 samples, not a single trace of salmonella has been found.