After recalls due to suspicion of salmonella: Belgian authorities withdraw Ferrero’s license for a work

Because of salmonella cases in several countries, the confectionery giant Ferrero has to stop production in a factory in Belgium for the time being. The Afsca supervisory authority announced on Friday that it would revoke the production license for the Arlon factory as a result of investigations.

According to the statement, Ferrero did not provide sufficient information in the investigation. In the middle of the important Easter business, all products have to be recalled from the factory, regardless of their production date.

According to Afsca’s announcement, all Kinder Surprise, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Surprise Maxi and Schoko-Bons made in Arlon are affected. Afsca also asked all distributors to withdraw related products from retail outlets.

The Arlon plant may only reopen once all food safety rules and requirements have been met.

First case in December

As early as December, Ferrero became aware of a case of salmonella in the factory that has been the focus of the food authorities for days. This emerges from a communication from Ferrero France in Luxembourg.

According to the announcement, on December 15, Salmonella was detected in a strainer at the outlet of two raw material tanks at the Arlon site. The products made from it were then held back. The filter has been replaced and controls on work-in-progress and finished products have been increased, Ferrero said.

The announcement does not explain why Ferrero did not recall the products already in circulation at the time. In the past few days, the company has recalled products from its children’s candy line in several countries – now also in the United States, according to a company announcement published by the US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday.

The German market has also been affected by the recalls of the past few days, including selected batches of children’s surprise eggs and children’s chocolate bons as well as some Easter items.

The company had previously emphasized that the recalls were purely precautionary measures. Although none of the children’s products tested positive for salmonella, Ferrero takes the matter very seriously, “because consumer protection is our top priority,” it said recently. But the mere suspicion of a salmonella infestation could leave its mark on the supermarket shelves – especially since the Easter business is considered lucrative for confectionery manufacturers.

There are recalls worldwide

The Italian Ferrero Group recalled children’s products in several European countries on Tuesday. Certain batches were affected, which were manufactured in a factory in Arlon, Belgium and distributed in France, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. Ferrero said it is working with authorities over a “possible link to reported cases of salmonella” in chocolate made in Belgium. It is a “voluntary” recall of a number of products made in Belgium.

According to the consumer protection organization Foodwatch, the EU food safety authority EFSA and the EU health authority ECDC have so far confirmed 105 salmonella cases and 29 suspected cases, most of them in children. Foodwatch quoted the authorities as saying that an unusually large number of the children had to be hospitalized, some with severe symptoms such as bloody diarrhea.

So far there have been no cases of diarrhea in Germany, according to Ferrero. Ferrero is also recalling several children’s products in Australia and Israel as a strict precaution. However, there have been no reports of salmonella contamination in Israel, the local Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday.

In Belgium, the Food Chain Safety Authority (FASFC) called on consumers not to consume these products “following a series of reported outbreaks of salmonella in various EU Member States” and children’s products were also recalled in the United States.

Foodwatch: Consumers are warned much too late

However, the consumer organization Foodwatch has criticized the company heavily. “If such a mistake happens, the population must be warned immediately,” said Andreas Winkler from Foodwatch on Friday.

In his opinion, personal responsibility and self-monitoring by the manufacturers are not sufficient, “transparency obligations for authorities are necessary so that cases like Ferrero must be made public immediately”.

Both Ferrero and the surveillance authorities had known about the Salmonella finds since December – but public recalls only came almost five months later. In addition, it is still not clear what the reason for the salmonella infestation is.

Foodwatch called on Ferrero and the responsible food authorities in Germany to provide clarification. “How could apparently hazardous products leave the factory and be sold for months?” said a Foodwatch spokesman Andrew Winkler. “The Ferrero case shows that self-monitoring and the responsibility of the manufacturers are not enough. “Food manufacturers must be legally obliged to immediately and clearly warn consumers on all channels,” Winkler demanded. (with AFP,)

By Editor

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