Belgium orders Ferrero plant closure over child salmonella connection


Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs, a brand of Italian confectionery group Ferrero, are seen at a supermarket in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Caren Firouz/File Photo

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BRUSSELS, April 8 (Reuters) – Belgian health authorities on Friday ordered Italian confectionery group Ferrero to suspend production at its plant in Belgium after investigating dozens of cases of salmonella linked to the company’s Kinder chocolates.

Ferrero, which recalled several batches of Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs and other products from shelves in Spain, Britain, Ireland and the United States, said other Kinder products made at the Arlon site had also been recalled.

The company has not explicitly linked the recall to the salmonella cases.

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However, the Belgian food safety agency AFSCA-FAVV said a link between more than a hundred cases of salmonella over several weeks and Ferrero production in southern Belgium had been confirmed.

On Wednesday, the European health agency said it was investigating dozens of reported and suspected cases of salmonella linked to chocolate consumption in at least nine countries, mainly in children under the age of 10. read more

The Arlon plant accounts for around 7% of the total global volume of children’s products, Ferrero said.

The Belgian agency said the decision to halt production there was made after concluding that Ferrero’s information was incomplete. The suspension would not be lifted until it was demonstrated that the facility was in compliance with all food safety regulations.

The agency urged consumers not to eat any of the recalled products, including Kinder Surprise, Kinder Surprise Maxi, Kinder Mini Eggs and Kinder Chocobons.

The company said there were internal inefficiencies that caused delays in timely retrieval and sharing of information.

It previously described recalls as a precautionary measure and said no children’s products put on the market had tested positive for salmonella.

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Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru, Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Edited by Shailesh Kuber and John Stonestreet

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