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Unilever recalls Knorr Beef and Vegetable Lite soup

Consumers urged to return products

Mpho Koka Journalist
These are the boxes Unilever has recalled, as they do not declare the presence of wheat and gluten as allergens on the box.
These are the boxes Unilever has recalled, as they do not declare the presence of wheat and gluten as allergens on the box.
Image: Unilever

Of the 26,000 Knorr boxes produced by Unilever SA in March, 7,680 contain wrong sachets which have allergens such as wheat and gluten.

Knorr Masterbrand marketing manager Nicole Harris said all 26,000 boxes with the expiry date BB SEPT 2023, including good stock, have been recalled. 

Last week Unilever SA recalled boxes of its Knorr Cup-a-Soup Beef and Vegetable Lite due to containing sachets of Knorr Cup-a-Soup Beef and Vegetable Regular.

Harris said the sachets contained allergens such as wheat and gluten.  

"We received three consumer calls to date, one of which was a complaint and the other two queries. No consumers have contacted us saying that they have consumed the product and become unwell thereafter. We recently discovered that a small number of Knorr Cup-a-Soup Beef & Vegetable Lite boxes mistakenly contain the Knorr Cup-a-Soup Beef & Vegetable Regular, which contains wheat and gluten. This kind of packing mistake falls far short of our own standards and we sincerely apologise. We have launched an immediate investigation to determine the root cause to prevent re-occurrence," she said.

A total of 26,000 boxes were manufactured on March 23 with an expiry date of September 22 2023.

Harris said 18,280 boxes had been returned already. 

"At this stage, we are currently and continuously monitoring and tracking. So far 18,280 units have been returned with the difference of 7,720 in  isolation at customers awaiting uplifts back to Unilever Mother Warehouse," said Harris. 

Harris said the company had notified the relevant regulatory authorities in accordance with local regulations about the recall. 

"We have initiated a nationwide trade uplift and issued a public recall. If anyone has any boxes of Knorr “Cup-a-Soup Beef and Vegetable Lite” marked with BB 22SEPT 23 2082 E please do not use them but rather return the products to your nearest retailer for a refund. Consumers are urged to return the products and not to dispose of it themselves," said Harris. 

National Consumer Commission (NCC) spokesperson Phetho Ntaba said the commission was monitoring the recall process as per the NCC’s recall guidelines.

“We cannot tell for how long the process will take. It will depend on the response from customers and how many of them return the product,” said Ntaba.

In a statement released on Saturday, the NCC urged consumers in possession of the Knorr Cup-a-Soup Beef and Vegetable Lite boxes to discontinue use of the product and return it to the point of sale for a full refund.

“The manufacturer Unilever SA informed the commission that Knorr Cup-a-Soup Regular Beef and Vegetable instant soup variant sachets were incorrectly packed into the Knorr Cup-a-Soup Lite Beef and Vegetable instant soup variant cartons. We understand that this means that consumers could unwittingly consume the Knorr Cup-a-Soup Lite Beef and Vegetable variant which unintentionally contains the undeclared wheat and gluten,” said NCC acting commissioner Thezi Mabuza.

“I want to remind suppliers of goods and services to put safety measures in place to ensure that they distribute goods that meet the requirement of the Consumer Protection Act. Suppliers need to carry out practices that will assure consumers that the product is safe to consume and is of acceptable quality,” said Mabuza.

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