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Tuesday, December 14, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Hershey Investigates Worms In Candy Bar -- Chocolate Removed From Snohomish Store

SNOHOMISH - The Hershey Foods Corp. is investigating an 11-year-old Snohomish boy's claim that his mr. Goodbar candy bar was contaminated by worms.

Natalie Bailey, a spokeswoman for Hershey, said yesterday the candy company has not heard from the boy's family nor their attorney but was aware of the claim from media coverage.

If the candy has been contaminated, it would be extremely rare, she said.

"We produce millions of pounds of product and from time to time receive such reports," Bailey said. Any suspect product is always removed from the shelves, she added.

Bryan Clayton bought the chocolate-and-peanut candy bar at the Fobes store in Snohomish on Friday night. He gave three squares of the bar to a friend, Scott Mattern, and ate one square himself. When he took a second bite, Clayton said, "I felt the worms in my mouth and spit it out."

Clayton has since been sick and has received antibiotics and medication to treat nausea, according to his mother. Mattern was also sick, but his mother said other members of the family have had the flu.

Clayton's mother, Candace Clayton, said the store found other mr. Goodbars infested with the worms. Rocky Kim, a spokesman for Fobes store, confirmed that several other mr. Goodbars were infested and were taken by Hershey for further investigation.

The store also opened a number of other types of candy bars but found no problems, Kim said.

The candy company, based in Hershey, Pa., thinks the candy was fine when it left the manufacturing plant, Bailey said. To trace the source of the problem, Hershey will investigate the store's shelves and also check the method of storage, she said.

Insects sometimes infest other products, such as pet foods, and could possibly be transmitted to Hershey's candy depending on the way the product is stored, Bailey said.

"Packaging serves as a barrier but it cannot completely deter this kind of situation," Bailey said.

Rich Miklich, a supervisor in the food section of the Snohomish Health District, said infestation of candy is rare.

Miklich said if the problem exists, it most likely stems from a manufacturing glitch. "Contamination from some other (product) would be rare . . . It would have to be so filthy and gross that it would be easy to spot the contamination," he said.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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