BELGIUM – Belgium’s food-safety body, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC), has launched an “in-depth investigation” into the salmonella case at Ferrero’s Arlon plant in Belgium.

The confectionery company informed the country’s food safety body that swab testing had identified the presence of salmonella in the skirting boards at the Arlon factory.

The company is the same site impacted by an outbreak of salmonella and a Kinder product recall last year.

Ferrero added that “based on the information available to the FASFC, no potentially suspect end product has reached the consumer,” a fact acknowledged by Ferrero itself.

“No final products have tested positive, and, in any case, none have left our facilities,” Ferrero confirmed in its statement.

 “Following the identification of salmonella in the environment by our internal controls, as an immediate preventive measure, we have stopped the production lines concerned and are working on the root cause analysis.”

Local media reported that Ferrero had stopped affected production lines while it investigated the root cause of the positive result.

FASFC, also known as AFSCA and FAVV, said it is taking the latest salmonella case at Arlon “very seriously and has been monitoring it very closely for several days.”

“It goes without saying that if FASFC finds facts or learns of information during this investigation, which requires additional measures to guarantee consumer protection, it will not hesitate to take them without delay,” the agency pointed out.

In last year’s episode, Ferrero was ordered to suspend operations at Arlon by the food-safety agency on 8 April 2022 after the factory was identified as the source of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium.

The confectionery maker had delayed reporting of the outbreak in Kinder chocolate that sickened more than 450 people. People fell sick between December 2021 and June 2022.

It was forced to initiate a worldwide recall of Kinder products when the first illnesses came to light in the UK on 7 January of that year. The UK had the most patients followed by France. There were four cases in Canada and one in the United States.

The Kinder brand maker acknowledged the outbreak in April of the following year, noting the “point of origin was identified to be a filter at the outlet of two raw material tanks” and “materials and finished products were blocked and not released”.

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