Migros, Switzerland’s largest grocery and cafe retail chain, is apologizing after consumers discovered images of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini on their coffee creamer packages. The story broke when a reader sent the German-language newspaper 20 Minuten a picture of the Hitler creamer:
— Loretta (@laRossa05) October 22, 2014
Individual coffee creamer packets in Switzerland are often designed with pastoral images of the countryside, other Swiss landmarks, or are used for image-heavy advertisements. But Migros is now apologizing for the representations of Hitler and Mussolini, with company representatives telling several international news sources that the packages slipped through their quality controls before reaching markets in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.
“We apologize formally for this unforgivable blunder,” a company spokesman told 20 Minuten.
The slip-up occurred when an outside company called Karo Shipping GmbH asked Swiss dairy supplier and Migros subsidiary ELSA to provide 55 different creamer labels that used images from vintage cigar boxes. Migros representative Tristan Cerf told the New York Times today that the labels — which were not distributed through the company’s full retail network but instead shipped to some 100 restaurant and cafe outlets — were not approved by corporate. He told the Times:
“These aren’t images accompanying a book about World War II, but rather something meant to be enjoyed with coffee and a chocolate cake. You cannot put Pol Pot or a terrorist on a milk creamer.”