An investigation is opened in Belgium against Kinder chocolates
The prosecutor in Belgium has opened an investigation to establish possible responsibilities within the factory of Kinder chocolates (Ferrero group) located in Arlon, at the origin of cases of salmonellosis in several European countries, announced Monday, April 11, the prosecutor’s office of the province of Luxembourg (South).
“I confirm the opening of a judicial investigation,” said in a statement Anne-Sophie Gilmot, spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, without specifying which facts were targeted.
“The company has seen its authorization withdrawn, it is now for justice to conduct its investigation,” said for his part Jean-Sebastien Wahlin, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (AFSCA).
The FASFC had forced Friday, April 8, this production site of the Italian giant confectionery Ferrero to cease its activity. At fault: its lack of transparency on an incident that occurred in mid-December causing contamination with salmonella products of the Kinder range.
The regulator pointed to “incomplete” information provided by Ferrero after the incident, ordering the manufacturer to recall all Kinder products from the site.
The Ferrero Group, which is one of the leaders in the food industry and is known for Kinder chocolate eggs but also Nutella spread, has acknowledged “internal failures” that led to “delays in the recovery and sharing of information in a timely manner”.
“The Arlon plant represents about 7% of the total volume of Kinder products manufactured in the world over a year,” he said.
The problem is for the employees who are on vacation this week and who may then have to be put on temporary unemployment. The site currently employs about 900 people on average over the year, a figure that fluctuates with the seasons, according to a union source contacted by AFP.
According to the FASFC, “more than a hundred cases of salmonellosis have been identified in Europe” for several weeks, and the link established in late March between these intoxications and the Ferrero factory in Arlon “has been confirmed since then.
The FASFC explained that it had been alerted by the British authorities who suspected the Belgian site of Ferrero to be the cause of the poisoning, which the company confirmed.
Last Tuesday, April 5, a spokesman for the British authorities said they had counted 63 cases of salmonella contamination in the UK. About 20 cases have also been identified in France. No deaths have been reported.
Salmonellosis, caused by a bacterium called salmonella, is an important cause of death by food poisoning. Its symptoms appear on average after one to three days of incubation. They are most often those of gastroenteritis sometimes acute: diarrhea and abdominal cramps, slight fever, even vomiting.