The candy company behind Valentine’s Day conversation hearts, Necco wafers and the Clark bar has spent most of this spring dangling in purgatory: In March, the CEO of the New England Confectionery Co. – Necco for short – said that the company was buried under a mountain of debt and that it needed to find a buyer ASAP or it would have to lay off hundreds of employees.
Since then, its creditors have forced the company into bankruptcy, which resulted in a sale, at auction, of the company and its assets. Supporters hope this means continued operations for the nostalgic products, now under the experienced eye of Spangler Candy Company, the maker of Dum-Dums brand lollipops.
But it appears that Spangler may have inherited something else when it bought Necco and Massachusetts local news organization, The Republican, is reporting that that is a massive quantity of rodent feces.
The article details FDA inspections of the plant between November and December of 2017, where the auditors detailed rodent pellets that were “too numerous to count” and other evidence of activity from rodents on raw material, equipment and even candy stored in the finished goods area.
Gnaw marks and “rodent nesting material” were also seen in a pallet of chocolate dipped peanuts, and officials also said there were bags of sugar and almonds that were ripped open and re-sealed, with a mess left on the floor that included… you guessed it: rodent droppings.
In a letter sent to the company May 16th, the FDA also highlighted issues that had been unaddressed between a June 2017 inspection and the inspection at the end of the year – things like unidentified liquids dripping into collection containers and standing puddles on the floor that were being soaked up by piles of sugar.
The letter is frankly exhausting and, in the end, it basically threatens to shut down Necco if the company can’t respond with adequately detailed corrective action plan within two weeks – though Necco kicked the can down the road and now the Revere, Massachusetts plant is somebody else’s problem.