Ferrero suspends operations at Belgium plant following salmonella detection

BELGIUM — A salmonella outbreak at one of Ferrero group’s plant in Belgium has forced the Italian chocolate manufacturer to suspend operations at the plant.

Ferrero further said the entire production of Kinder Surprise, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Surprise Maxi 100g and Kinder Schokobons made at the Arlon plant has been recalled.

 The recall includes not only Belgium, where the chocolates were made, but also the United States and other countries in Europe where the product was distributed.

The facility in Arlon accounts for approximately 7% of total volumes of Kinder products, according to a statement from the second biggest chocolate producer and confectionery company in the world.

The plant will remain shuttered until it has been certified as safe by food safety authorities, the company said.

“This is the only and right decision to take to ensure the maximum level of food safety and eliminate the risk of further contamination,” Ferrero said.

“We deeply regret this matter. We want to sincerely apologize to all our consumers and business partners and thank the food safety authorities for their valuable guidance.”

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Ferrero has found itself in a tight spot since early April an outbreak of salmonella across a number of states in Europe was linked to its Kinder products.

The salmonella outbreak has affected a number of other countries in Europe including Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, according to the Food Safety Network.

“Food safety, quality and consumer care have been at the heart of Ferrero since the company was founded,” Ferrero said.

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“This serious event goes to the core of what we stand for and we will take every step necessary to preserve the full trust and confidence of our consumers.”

In 2006, Cadbury was forced into a precautionary recall of one million of its chocolate products, which is believed to have cost £15-£20m after traces of salmonella were discovered in some samples.

Although no association exists between the historic incident and the one affecting Kinder, but the Cadbury case illustrates how problematic the discovery of even minimal salmonella traces in chocolate can be.

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