Cadbury bosses are under fire for allowing Easter eggs go on sale to children – despite knowing of a possible salmonella risk.

Dr Lyndon Simkin, a brand marketing expert at Warwick University, labelled the sales decision "strange". He warned the Birmingham firm would have to change its policies for handling future scares.

The Bournville-based confectioner announced on Friday that it was taking a million chocolate bars off shop shelves, as they had potentially been exposed to salmonella in January. But the company only informed the Food Standards Agency about the scare on Wednesday – months after the Easter egg sales peak.

The FSA said there had been a sharp rise in the number of salmonella cases this year, although it is too early to say if they are linked to Cadbury products.