After withdrawals on suspicion of salmonella: Belgian authorities revoke Ferrero-Panorama-Giselleschaft’s business license for the time being

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

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According to the statement, Ferrero did not provide enough information in the investigation. In the middle of important Easter work, all products must be withdrawn from the factory, regardless of their production date.

According to the Afsca announcement, all Kinder Surprise, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Surprise Maxi and Schoko-Bons made in Arlon were all affected. Afsca has also required all distributors to withdraw related products from retail outlets.

The Arlon factory may only reopen after all food safety rules and requirements have been met.

First case in December

As early as December, Ferrero learned of a case of salmonella at the plant that had been of interest to food authorities for several days. This stems from a connection from Ferrero France in Luxembourg.

According to the announcement, on December 15, salmonella was discovered in a refinery at the exit of two raw material tanks at the Arlon site. Then the products made from it were discontinued. Ferrero said the filter has been replaced and controls for work-in-progress and finished products have been increased.

The announcement does not explain why Ferrero was not recalling products already in circulation at the time. In the past few days, the company has pulled products from its children’s candy line in several countries — now also in the United States, according to the company’s announcement published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday.

The German market has also been affected by recalls in the past few days, including a selection of surprise baby eggs and chocolate cakes for children as well as some Easter items.

The company had previously confirmed that the withdrawals were purely precautionary measures. Although none of the baby products have tested positive for salmonella, Ferrero takes it seriously, “because consumer protection is our top priority,” as it recently stated. But even the mere suspicion of salmonella infection can leave its mark on supermarket shelves — especially since the Easter business is considered profitable for candy manufacturers.

There are withdrawals all over the world

Italian group Ferrero recalled baby products in several European countries on Tuesday. Certain batches were affected, they were made at a factory in Arlon, Belgium and distributed in France, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. Ferrero said it was working with authorities on 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 watchdog Foodwatch, the European Union Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Union Health Authority (ECDC) have so far confirmed 105 cases of salmonella and 29 suspected cases, most of them in children. Authorities quoted Foodwatch as saying that an unusually large number of children were taken to hospital, some with severe symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea.

According to Ferrero, so far no cases of diarrhea have been recorded in Germany. Ferrero also mentions several baby products in Australia and Israel as a strict precaution. However, the local health ministry announced on Wednesday that there are no reports of salmonella contamination in Israel yet.

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