This excerpt taken from the HSY 10-K filed Feb 19, 2008.
Issues related to the quality and safety of our products, ingredients or packaging could cause a product recall, resulting in harm to the Companys reputation and negatively impacting our operating results.
In order to sell our iconic, branded products, we need to maintain a good reputation with our customers and consumers. Issues related to quality and safety of our products, ingredients or packaging, could jeopardize our Companys image and reputation. Negative publicity related to these types of concerns, or related to product contamination or product tampering, whether valid or not, might negatively impact demand for our products, or cause production and delivery disruptions. We may need to recall products if any of our products become unfit for consumption. In addition, we could potentially be subject to litigation or government actions, which could result in payments of fines or damages. Costs associated with these potential actions could negatively affect our operating results.
A product recall and related temporary plant closure during the fourth quarter of 2006 was caused by a contaminated ingredient purchased from an outside supplier. We have filed a claim for damages and are currently in litigation. A receivable was included in prepaid expenses and other current assets related to the anticipated recovery of damages. Future developments in this case could impact our ability to recover the costs we incurred for the recall and temporary plant closure from responsible third-parties.