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150 cases of salmonellosis discovered in nine countries, including France, according to European surveillance agencies

Ferrero's Belgian factory, located in Arlon, on April 6, 2022.

One hundred and fifty cases of salmonellosis have been detected in nine European countries, including France, two European surveillance agencies announced on Tuesday, April 12, which held the responsibility of a “Belgian production site”, a few days after the closure of the Kinder (Ferrero) facility in Arlon, Belgium

“As of April 8, 2022, one hundred and fifty confirmed and probable cases of Salmonella typhimurium monophasic was reported”, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) report in a press release. Both agencies have “Identified chocolate-based products manufactured by a company at its Belgian production site as the cause of the outbreak of Salmonella they continue, without mentioning the name of the Italian company specializing in confectionery.

The infections have “Mainly produced in children under 10 years of age” and have been reported in nine European countries: France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Salmonellosis, caused by a bacteria called salmonella, causes symptoms similar to those of sometimes acute gastroenteritis: diarrhea and abdominal cramps, low-grade fever, and even vomiting. No deaths have been reported.

“Internal malfunctions”

According to European experts, further research will be carried out “necessary to identify the exact source and time of contamination” and to lean on “wider use of contaminated raw materials in other factories”

On Monday, the Belgian judiciary opened an investigation to determine possible responsibilities within the Arlon factory. On Friday, the Belgian food safety agency (Afsca) withdrew its production license, accusing it of lack of transparency over an incident that happened in mid-December. Currently, “S. typhimurium was found during our own checks in a tank of buttermilk at the Belgian branch of the company concerned”confirm EFSA and ECDC.

Despite stricter controls and hygiene measures, contaminated chocolate products were distributed in Europe and the United States, prompting Ferrero on Friday to acknowledge “internal errors”

After the association between Kinder products and salmonellosis cases, recalls were launched in several European countries and the United States at the end of March, following a warning from UK authorities. All products from the Arlon factory are now affectedregardless of their lottery number or expiration date, Ferrero said.

Le Monde and AFP

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